Immunoglobulin gene analysis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia in the era of next generation sequencing

Leukemia. 2020 Oct;34(10):2545-2551. doi: 10.1038/s41375-020-0923-9. Epub 2020 Jun 19.


Twenty years after landmark publications, there is a consensus that the somatic hypermutation (SHM) status of the clonotypic immunoglobulin heavy variable (IGHV) gene is an important cornerstone for accurate risk stratification and therapeutic decision-making in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The IGHV SHM status has traditionally been determined by conventional Sanger sequencing. However, NGS has heralded a new era in medical diagnostics and immunogenetic analysis is following this trend. There is indeed a growing demand for shifting practice and using NGS for IGHV gene SHM assessment, although it is debatable whether it is always justifiable, at least taking into account financial considerations for laboratories with limited resources. Nevertheless, as this analysis impacts on treatment decisions, standardization of both technical aspects, and data interpretation becomes essential. Also, the need for establishing new recommendations and providing dedicated education and training on NGS-based immunogenetics is greater than ever before. Here we address potential and challenges of NGS-based immunogenetics in CLL. We are convinced that this perspective helps the hematological community to better understand the pros and cons of this new technological development for CLL patient management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genes, Immunoglobulin*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region