Description: B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common adult leukemia in the Western hemisphere and, despite years of research, remains an incurable disease. CLL presents an enigmatic medical problem since it can follow two different clinical courses: a relatively benign, indolent disease in which the median survival is >25 years, often without therapy, and a more malignant, aggressive progression in which median survival is <8 years despite chemotherapy and the best medical intervention. There is a need for markers that discriminate these two clinical populations so that the appropriate course of treatment can be chosen at the time of diagnosis. Although there is no cure for CLL, there are promising new therapeutic approaches.
Dr. Chiorazzi’s laboratory recently described a useful prognostic association between the fraction of a CLL patient’s B cells that express the surface marker CD38 and the likelihood that the patient will be in the rapidly progressing cohort. Independent studies by other investigators have confirmed the value of measuring CD38 both to predict survival in patients with CLL and to indicate a worsening of clinical course during periodic monitoring.
Area of Application: Oncology – chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), diagnostic/prognostic markers
Lead Investigator: Nicholas Chiorazzi, MD
References: Damle, RN, et al. (1999) Ig V gene mutation status and CD38 expression as novel prognostic indicators in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Blood 94:1840-1847.
Damle, RN, et al. (2002) B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells express a surface membrane phenotype of activated, antigen-experienced B lymphocytes. Blood 99:4087-93.
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