Low-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis persists after seven years of follow up and is associated with a poorer outcome
Fecha de publicación
European Hematology Association (La Haya, Países Bajos)
Haematologica 2018 Volume 103(7):1198-1208
[EN]Low-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis is defined by the presence of very low numbers of circulating clonal B cells, usually phenotypically similar to chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells, whose biological and clinical significance remains elusive. Herein, we re-evaluated 65/91 low-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis cases (54 chronic lymphocytic leukemia-like and 11 non-chronic lymphocytic leukemialike) followed-up for a median of seven years, using high-sensitivity flow cytometry and interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization. Overall, the clone size significantly increased in 69% of low-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis cases, but only one subject progressed to high-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis. In parallel, the frequency of cytogenetic alterations increased over time (32% vs. 61% of cases, respectively). The absolute number of the major T-cell and natural killer cell populations also increased, but only among chronic lymphocytic leukemia-like cases with increased clone size vs. age- and sex-matched controls. Although progression to chronic lymphocytic leukemia was not observed, the overall survival of low-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis individuals was significantly reduced vs. non-monoclonal Bcell lymphocytosis controls (P=0.03) plus the general population from the same region (P≤0.001), particularly among females (P=0.01); infection and cancer were the main causes of death in low-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis. In summary, despite the fact that mid-term progression from low-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis to high-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis and chronic lymphocytic leukemia appears to be unlikely, these clones persist at increased numbers, usually carrying more genetic alterations, and might thus be a marker of an impaired immune system indirectly associated with a poorer outcome, particularly among females.
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