We recently reported that leukemic cells from IgVH-unmutated/progressive CLL more frequently proliferate in response to CpG-ODN stimulation than their corresponding counterparts. Here we evaluated the prognostic impact of this proliferative response in 91 CLL patients. The proliferative response was highly predictive of PFS, TTT and OS in the whole series and refined prognosis in patients with M-CLL. BCR stimulation modulated the response to CpG-ODN, suggesting that the proliferative capacity of the leukemic cells is related to antigen-encounter history. These data support the hypothesis that the capacity of the leukemic cells to respond to external stimuli influences disease progression in CLL.
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