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San Raffaele Cimena, Italy

Bertilaccio M.T.S.,Laboratory of Lymphoid Malignancies | Scielzo C.,Laboratory of Lymphoid Malignancies | Scielzo C.,University of Milan | Muzio M.,Laboratory of Lymphoid Malignancies | And 2 more authors.
Best Practice and Research: Clinical Haematology | Year: 2010

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is characterised by accumulation of CD5+ monoclonal B cells in primary and secondary lymphoid tissues. Genetic defects and stimuli originating from the microenvironment concur to the selection and expansion of the malignant clone. Several lines of evidence, including molecular and functional analysis of the monoclonal immunoglobulin, support the hypothesis that stimulation through the B-cell receptor affects life and death of leukaemic cells. The microenvironment also has a critical role in the survival and accumulation of leukaemic cells within lymphoid organs where signals delivered from the surrounding cells are likely crucial in inducing proliferation. Nevertheless, several major biological issues still remain to be solved including regulation of the balance between proliferation and survival of leukaemic cells and the links between emerging gene abnormalities and microenvironment. In this context, mouse models are helpful tools in understanding disease mechanisms and in evaluating the efficacy of novel therapeutic agents. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Fazi C.,Laboratory of B Cell Neoplasia | Dagklis A.,Laboratory of B Cell Neoplasia | Cottini F.,Laboratory of B Cell Neoplasia | Scarfo L.,Laboratory of B Cell Neoplasia | And 5 more authors.
Cytometry Part B - Clinical Cytometry | Year: 2010

Background: Monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is a preclinical condition characterized by an expansion of clonal B cells in the absence of B lymphocytosis (BALC < 5 × 109/L) in the peripheral blood, without clinical signs, suggestive of a lymphoproliferative disorder. B cell clonal expansions are also associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and they can evolve into lymphoproliferative disorders such as mixed cryoglobulinemia and non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). The relationship between MBL and HCV infection has not been established yet. Methods: By five-colour flow cytometry, we analyzed 123 HCV positive subjects with diagnosis of chronic hepatitis (94) or cirrhosis (29); 16 of those with cirrhosis had a diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma. Results: MBL were identified in 35/123 (28.5%), at significantly higher frequency than in the general population. Sixteen/thirty-five were atypical-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) MBL (CD5+, CD20bright), 13/35 were CLL-like MBL (CD5 bright, CD20dim), and 6/35 were CD5- MBL. Twenty-four/ninety-four (25.5%) patients affected by chronic hepatitis had MBL, whereas 11/29 (37.9%) patients with cirrhosis showed a B cell clone. A biased usage of IGHVgenes similar to HCV-associated NHL was evident. Conclusions: All three types of MBL can be identified in HCV-infected individuals at a higher frequency than in the general population, and their presence appears to correlate with a more advanced disease stage. The phenotypic heterogeneity is reminiscent of the diversity of NHL arising in the context of HCV infection. The persistence of HCV may be responsible for the dysregulation of the immune system and in particular of the B cell compartment. © 2010 International Clinical Cytometry Society. Source

Fazi C.,Laboratory of B Cell Neoplasia | Scarfo L.,Laboratory of B Cell Neoplasia | Scarfo L.,Lymphoma Unit | Scarfo L.,University of Ferrara | And 17 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2011

Monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is classified as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)-like, atypical CLL, and CD5 -MBL. The number of B cells per microliter divides CLL-like MBL into MBL associated with lymphocytosis (usually detected in a clinical setting) and low-count MBL detected in the general population (usually identified during population screening). After a median follow-up of 34 months we reevaluated 76 low-count MBLs with 5-color flow cytometry: 90% of CLL-like MBL but only 44.4% atypical CLL and 66.7% CD5 - MBL persisted over time. Population-screening CLL-like MBL had no relevant cell count change, and none developed an overt leukemia. In 50% of the cases FISH showed CLL-related chromosomal abnormalities, including monoallelic or biallelic 13q deletions (43.8%), trisomy 12 (1 case), and 17p deletions (2 cases). The analysis of the T-cell receptor β (TRBV) chains repertoire showed the presence of monoclonal T-cell clones, especially among CD4 highCD8 low, CD8 highCD4 low T cells. TRBV2 and TRBV8 were the most frequently expressed genes. This study indicates that (1) the risk of progression into CLL for low-count population-screening CLL-like MBL is exceedingly rare and definitely lower than that of clinical MBL and (2) chromosomal abnormalities occur early in the natural history and are possibly associated with the appearance of the typical phenotype. © 2011 by The American Society of Hematology. Source

Bertilaccio M.T.S.,Laboratory of Lymphoid Malignancies | Scielzo C.,Laboratory of Lymphoid Malignancies | Scielzo C.,University of Milan | Simonetti G.,Laboratory of B Cell Neoplasia | And 14 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2010

Easily reproducible animal models that allow for study of the biology of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and to test new therapeutic agents have been very difficult to establish. We have developed a novel transplantable xenograft murine model of CLL by engrafting the CLL cell line MEC1 into Rag2 -/-γc-/- mice. These mice lack B, T, and natural killer (NK) cells, and, in contrast to nude mice that retain NK cells, appear to be optimal recipient for MEC1 cells, which were successfully transplanted through either subcutaneous or intravenous routes. The result is a novel in vivo model that has systemic involvement, develops very rapidly, allows the measurement of tumor burden, and has 100% engraftment efficiency. This model closely resembles aggressive human CLL and could be very useful for evaluating both the biologic basis of CLL growth and dissemination as well as the efficacy of new therapeutic agents. © 2010 by The American Society of Hematology. Source

Scielzo C.,Laboratory of Lymphoid Malignancies | Scielzo C.,University of Milan | Apollonio B.,Laboratory of Lymphoid Malignancies | Apollonio B.,Vita-Salute San Raffaele University | And 12 more authors.
Leukemia | Year: 2011

Malignant B lymphocytes from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients maintain the capacity to respond to CD40 ligation, among other microenvironmental stimuli. In this study, we show that (i) leukemic CLL cells stimulated with the soluble form of CD40L in vitro show differential responses in terms of upregulation of surface markers (CD95 and CD80) and induction of chemokines (CCL22 and CCL17) expression/secretion, and that (ii) these changes are mirrored by a distinct activation of intracellular signalling pathways including increase in IKKalpha/beta phosphorylation and upregulation of antiapoptotic proteins (BCL-2 and MCL-1). CLL patients can then be segregated into two distinct functional subsets. We defined the responsive subset of cases CD40L dependent, considering the capacity to respond as a sign of persistent need of this stimulation for the leukemic expansion. Conversely, we named the unresponsive cases CD40L independent, considering them less dependent on this microenvironmental signal, presumably because of a higher autonomous proliferative and survival potential. Importantly, we report that (iii) the two functional subsets show an opposite clinical outcome, with CD40L-independent cases having a shorter time to progression. This indicates that the functional differences observed in vitro may reflect a different leukemic potential in vivo likely responsible for a distinct clinical course. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

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