CD79: a review

Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2001 Jun;9(2):97-106. doi: 10.1097/00129039-200106000-00001.


CD79 is composed of CD79a and CD79b components expressed almost exclusively on B cells and B-cell neoplasms. CD79a and CD79b expression precedes immunoglobulin (Ig) heavy-chain gene rearrangement and CD20 expression during B-cell ontogeny and disappears later than CD20 in the late (plasma cell) stage of B-cell differentiation. Therefore, antibodies to CD79a and CD79b are useful in the differential diagnosis of B-cell neoplasms from T-cell neoplasms or myeloid neoplasms, or L and H lymphocyte predominance Hodgkin's lymphoma from classic Hodgkin's lymphoma. In addition, CD79a and CD79b antibodies are useful markers in the diagnosis of precursor B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (pre-B-ALL) because many of these tumors are negative for other B-cell markers, such as CD20 and CD45RA. Furthermore, for B-cell neoplasms, wherein CD20 expression is aberrantly lost, such as in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, or for B-cell neoplasms after CD20-antibody therapy, CD79a may be used as a first-line B-cell marker for the diagnosis. In this review, the authors discuss the molecular biology of CD79 and the frequency and usefulness of CD79 expression in these neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD* / chemistry
  • Antigens, CD* / genetics
  • Antigens, CD* / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • CD79 Antigens
  • Female
  • Hodgkin Disease / immunology
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / immunology*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / immunology
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / immunology*
  • Male
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell* / chemistry
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell* / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell* / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CD79 Antigens
  • CD79A protein, human
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell