High-count monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is an asymptomatic expansion of clonal B cells in the peripheral blood without other manifestations of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Yearly, 1% of MBLs evolve to CLL requiring therapy; thus being critical to understand the biological events that determine which MBLs progress to intermediate/advanced CLL. In this study, we performed targeted deep sequencing on 48 high-count MBLs, 47 of them with 2-4 sequential samples analyzed, exploring the mutation status of 21 driver genes and evaluating clonal evolution. We found somatic non-synonymous mutations in 25 MBLs (52%) at the initial time point analyzed, including 12 (25%) with >1 mutated gene. In cases that subsequently progressed to CLL, mutations were detected 41 months (median) prior to progression. Excepting NOTCH1, TP53 and XPO1, which showed a lower incidence in MBL, genes were mutated with a similar prevalence to CLL, indicating the early origin of most driver mutations in the MBL/CLL continuum. MBLs with mutations at the initial time point analyzed were associated with shorter time-to-treatment (TTT). Furthermore, MBLs showing subclonal expansion of driver mutations on sequential evaluation had shorter progression time to CLL and shorter TTT. These findings support that clonal evolution has prognostic implications already at the pre-malignant MBL stage, anticipating which individuals will progress earlier to CLL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research