Detection of immunoglobulin kappa light chain rearrangements by polymerase chain reaction. An improved method for detecting clonal B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders

Am J Pathol. 1999 Aug;155(2):355-63. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9440(10)65132-2.


The clonal determination of B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders by immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) rearrangement by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is widely used. However, few attempts have been made to detect immunoglobulin kappa light chain (Igkappa) gene rearrangement using PCR. We studied 145 cases of B-cell neoplasms, along with 58 atypical and 18 reactive lymphoproliferative disorders, using newly designed degenerate oligoprimers recognizing the framework 3 (FR3kappa) and the joint (Jkappa) regions of the Igkappa gene. PCR products were analyzed on nondenaturing polyacrylamide gel (ndPAGE). Clonal B-cell determination was further investigated using IgH rearrangement and t(11:14) or t(14:18). By combining these methods, we detected either clonality or translocation in 117 of 137 cases (85%) in mature B-cell neoplasms. The additional analysis of Igkappa rearrangement improved sensitivity from 66% to 85%. To investigate whether the Ig gene configuration could be characterized using Igkappa PCR in B-cell neoplasms showing severe breakdown of genomic DNA, 18 selected cases were analyzed. Successful amplification was detected in 72% of the cases using either FR3/2-JH and/or FR3Jkappa oligoprimers. Finally, clonality was detected in 21 of 58 atypical B-cell proliferations, and among them, the atypical marginal cell (54%) and atypical large cell (50%) proliferations showed the highest frequency of clonal immunoglobulin gene products. We concluded that PCR/ndPAGE analysis of Igkappa is a sensitive, rapid, and efficient method for assessing clonality in conjunction with IgH and specific translocation analysis. This approach is particularly useful in the characterization of B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders in archival material with poor preservation of the genomic DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Clone Cells
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte, Light Chain*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / genetics
  • Leukemia / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphoma / genetics
  • Lymphoma / immunology
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / pathology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured