Subset #8 is a distinctive subset of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) defined by the expression of stereotyped IGHV4-39/IGKV1(D)-39 B-cell receptors. Subset #8 patients experience aggressive disease and exhibit the highest risk for Richter transformation among all CLL. In order to obtain biological insight into this behavior, we profiled the antigen reactivity and signaling capacity of subset #8 vs other clinically aggressive stereotyped subsets, namely subsets #1 and #2. Twenty-seven monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from subsets #1, #2, and #8 CLL clones were prepared as recombinant human immunoglobulin G1 and used as primary antibodies in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays against representatives of the major classes of established antigenic targets for CLL. Subset #8 CLL mAbs exhibited broad polyreactivity as they bound to all antigens tested, in clear contrast with the mAbs from the other subsets. Antigen challenge of primary CLL cells indicated that the promiscuous antigen-binding activity of subset #8 mAbs could lead to significant cell activation, again in contrast to the less responsive CLL cells from subsets #1 and #2. These features constitute a distinctive profile for CLL subset #8, supporting the existence of distinct mechanisms of aggressiveness in different immunogenetic subsets of CLL.
© 2015 by The American Society of Hematology.