Chromosomal translocations are usually analyzed as a single entity, and are associated with a poor outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Translocations involving immunoglobulin genes are recurrent, but uncommon (<5%), and their individual prognosis is not clear. The two most frequent partners are BCL2 (18q21) and BCL3 (19q13).
Designs and methods
Herein, 75 cases are reported of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and t(14;18) (BCL2-CLLs). Our series benefits from morphological, immunological and cytogenetical reviews. The IGHV status analyses were performed by referring laboratories. Comparison was made with our previously published series of chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients with t(14;19) (BCL3-CLLs, n=29).
Compared with BCL3-CLLs, lymphocytosis was lower in BCL2-CLLs (p<0.008), and splenomegaly was less frequent (p<0.0001). There were more “typical” morphologies (p<0.005) and Matutes scores >4 (p<0.001) in the BCL2-CLLs group, and less CD38 expression (p<0.04). More variant BCL2-translocations were observed (t(18;22), n=11; 2t(2;18), n=2; p<0.02), and BCL2-translocation was frequently single (p<0.002). Complex karyotypes (p<0.02), trisomy 12 (p<0.03), 6q deletion (p<0.002) and TP53 deletion (p<0.02) were less frequent in BCL2-CLLs, whereas 13q deletion was more frequent (p<0.005). The IGHV gene was frequently mutated in BCL2-CLLs (p<0.0001). Treatment-free survival was longer in BCL2-CLLs (p<0.0001).
BCL2-CLL.S express CD5 and lack expression of CD38, and have a Matutes score ≥4, frequent trisomy 12, no ATM and 6q deletions, and a mutated IGHV status. Compared to BCL3-CLLs, BCL2-CLLs are much less aggressive; indicating that identifying individual translocations and cytogenetic partners would allow improved patient stratification.