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J Immunother. 1998 Sep;21(5):363-70.

T-cell clonal expansion in patients with B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders.

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Laboratoire d'Immunologie Cellulaire, INSERM U3331, Villejuif, France.


We investigated whether T-cell clonal expansion could be found in the blood of 14 untreated patients with B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders [5 B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), 4 myelomas, 5 non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)]. The putative presence of T-cell clonotypes was analyzed with a polymerase chain reaction-based method determining V-D-J junction size patterns in 24 T-cell receptor (TCR) V beta subfamilies. This high-resolution method, analyzing CDR3 sizes of TCR transcripts, was used in conjunction with cytometric analysis of the corresponding T-cell subpopulations with 18 TCR V beta-specific monoclonal antibody. We found multiple dominant T-cell clonotypes in the blood of most patients with B-CLL or myeloma as well of a patient with stage IV NHL. In some cases, T-cell clonal expansion was so dominant that the percentage of these clonal T-cell subpopulations in blood represented more than the mean +2 SD value determined in a series of healthy controls. We conclude that a systemic antigen-specific (i.e., leading to clonotypic expansion) immune reaction involving few TCR clonotypes is a hallmark of disseminated B-cell malignancies. The nature of the putative antigens recognized is not known presently. Nonetheless, such insights into the T-cell repertoire of these patients may help to reassess the potential of immunotherapeutic strategies in B-cell malignancies.

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