Leukemogenesis And Genetic Instability In Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Clonal CD5-positive B-cell populations can be found in more than 80 percent of old mice56 and in 3 percent of healthy people over the age of 60 if sensitive molecular or FISH techniques are employed.57 Nothing is known of the genetic abnormalities in these clonal populations. Patients discovered on a routine blood test to have a slight lymphocytosis with morphological and immunophenotypic features of CLL may have stable disease for prolonged periods. Our own cytogenetic FISH and molecular data (unpublished) on this benign subgroup of stage A patients have shown that heterozygous or homozygous loss of chromosome 13q14 is the only consistent genetic abnormality, identifiable in 70 percent of cases. These data suggest that genetic loss at 13q14 is an early event in CLL and may be associated with prolonged lymphocyte survival, possibly due to resistance to apoptosis. Further ongoing studies to determine

Table 6-5. Telomere Length and Telomerase Activity in

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

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