Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and its precursor, monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL), are heritable. Serumfree light-chain (sFLC) measures are a prognostic factor for CLL, but their role in susceptibility to CLL is not clear. We investigated differences between sFLC measurements in pre-treatment serum from five groups to inform the association of sFLC with familial and sporadic CLL: (1) familial CLL (n = 154), (2) sporadic CLL (n = 302), (3) familial MBL (n = 87), (4) unaffected first-degree relatives from CLL/MBL families (n = 263), and (5) reference population (n = 15,396). The percent of individuals having elevated monoclonal and polyclonal sFLCs was compared using age-stratified and age- and sex-adjusted logistic regression models. In age groups >50 years, monoclonal sFLC elevations were increased in sporadic and familial CLL cases compared to the reference population (p's < 0.05). However, there were no statistically significant differences in sFLC monoclonal or polyclonal elevations between familial and sporadic CLL cases (p's > 0.05). Unaffected relatives and MBL cases from CLL/MBL families, ages >60 years, showed elevated monoclonal sFLC, compared to the reference population (p's < 0.05). This is the first study to demonstrate monoclonal sFLC elevations in CLL cases compared to controls. Monoclonal sFLC levels may provide additional risk information in relatives of CLL probands.
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