The peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia were characterized by the presence of a variety of cell surface differentiation antigens. The cells of 20 patients were found to be of B-cell phenotype when studied with antibodies directed against CD19, CD20, HLA-DR and sIg. Furthermore, a significant percentage of the cells gave a positive reaction with the monoclonal antibody to CD5. On the other hand, the CLL-cells did not express the CD21 antigen (C3d receptor, EBV receptor). We studied in parallel the presence of various activation antigens using 19 monoclonal antibodies grouped into 7 clusters (CD25, CD30, CD40, CD69, CD70, CD39, CD71). A significantly higher percentage of the CLL cells expressed activation antigens than lymphocytes from healthy controls. The percentage of CD3/HLA + DR + cells, compared to the healthy control lymphocytes was not increased in the CLL patients, and the activated cells in CLL were found to have characteristics of B-cells. Based on these results, we suggest that the CLL cells, like the cells in Hodgkin's disease and T-cell lymphoma, are not resting, but activated B-cells or the neoplastic abberrants of activated cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research