In the revised National Cancer Institute Working Group (NCI-WG)/International Workshop on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (IWCLL) guidelines for CLL, CLL-like monoclonal B lymphocytosis (MBL) is defined as the presence of less than 5 x 10(9)/L B lymphocytes in the peripheral blood. However, the concentration of MBL in the blood is extremely variable. MBL in subjects with lymphocytosis require treatment at a rate of 1.1% per year and present immunoglobulin (IG) gene features and similar to good prognosis CLL. Little is known about low-count MBL cases, accidentally found in the general population. We analyzed IGHV-D-J rearrangements in 51 CLL-like MBL cases from healthy individuals, characterized by few clonal B cells. Seventy percent of the IGHV genes were mutated. The most frequent IGHV gene was IGHV4-59/61, rarely used in CLL, whereas the IGHV1-69 gene was lacking and the IGHV4-34 gene was infrequent. Only 2 of 51 (3.9%) MBL cases expressed a CLL-specific stereotyped HCDR3. Therefore, the IG gene repertoire in low-count MBL differs from both mutated and unmutated CLL, suggesting that the detection of MBL in an otherwise healthy subject is not always equivalent to a preleukemic state. Detailed IG analysis of individual MBL may help to identify cases that necessitate continuous clinical monitoring to anticipate disease progression.