Purpose: We sought to investigate whether B cell receptor immunoglobulin (BcR IG) stereotypy is associated with particular clinicobiological features among chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients expressing mutated BcR IG (M-CLL) encoded by the IGHV4-34 gene, and also ascertain whether these associations could refine prognostication. Experimental Design: In a series of 19,907 CLL cases with available immunogenetic information, we identified 339 IGHV4-34-expressing cases assigned to one of the four largest stereotyped M-CLL subsets, namely subsets #4, #16, #29 and #201, and investigated in detail their clinicobiological characteristics and disease outcomes. Results: We identified shared and subset-specific patterns of somatic hypermutation (SHM) among patients assigned to these subsets. The greatest similarity was observed between subsets #4 and #16, both including IgG-switched cases (IgG-CLL). In contrast, the least similarity was detected between subsets #16 and #201, the latter concerning IgM/D-expressing CLL. Significant differences between subsets also involved disease stage at diagnosis and the presence of specific genomic aberrations. IgG subsets #4 and #16 emerged as particularly indolent with a significantly (P < 0.05) longer time-to-first-treatment (TTFT; median TTFT: not yet reached) compared with the IgM/D subsets #29 and #201 (median TTFT: 11 and 12 years, respectively). Conclusions: Our findings support the notion that BcR IG stereotypy further refines prognostication in CLL, superseding the immunogenetic distinction based solely on SHM load. In addition, the observed distinct genetic aberration landscapes and clinical heterogeneity suggest that not all M-CLL cases are equal, prompting further research into the underlying biological background with the ultimate aim of tailored patient management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research