Controversial fluorescence in situ hybridization cytogenetic abnormalities in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: new insights from a large cohort

Br J Haematol. 2015 Sep;170(5):694-703. doi: 10.1111/bjh.13498. Epub 2015 Jun 1.


The significance of rarer cytogenetic abnormalities in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) remains controversial. We performed fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) prior to initial therapy on 618 CLL patients seen at our centre between 2005 and 2012. With a median follow-up of 5·6 years, we found that 55 patients harbouring 14q32 rearrangements without t(14;18) had a shorter time to first treatment (TTFT) (median 26 months, P = 0·03) than patients with t(14;18) (median not reached). Patients with mono- or bi-allelic del(13q) as a sole abnormality had a similarly long TTFT (median not reached). Those patients who harboured 3 or more FISH abnormalities without del(17p) had a short TTFT (4·6 months), comparable to patients with del(17p) (8 months); however, the overall survival for patients with 3 or more FISH abnormalities was longer than for patients with del(17p) with 0 or 1 additional abnormalities (median not reached vs. 54 months). FISH cytogenetics remains a useful genetic tool in the clinic, even in the era of next generation sequencing and, as such, our data provide valuable new insights for counselling patients.

Keywords: IgH; chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; cytogenetics of leukaemia; fluorescence in situ hybridization; prognostic factors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies