Immunoglobulin gene sequence analysis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: the 2022 update of the recommendations by ERIC, the European Research Initiative on CLL

Leukemia. 2022 Aug;36(8):1961-1968. doi: 10.1038/s41375-022-01604-2. Epub 2022 May 25.


The somatic hypermutation (SHM) status of the clonotypic immunoglobulin heavy variable (IGHV) gene is a critical biomarker for assessing the prognosis of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Importantly, independent studies have documented that IGHV SHM status is also a predictor of responses to therapy, including both chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) and novel, targeted agents. Moreover, immunogenetic analysis in CLL has revealed that different patients may express (quasi)identical, stereotyped B cell receptor immunoglobulin (BcR IG) and are classified into subsets based on this common feature. Patients in certain stereotyped subsets display consistent biology, clinical presentation, and outcome that are distinct from other patients, even with concordant IGHV gene SHM status. All of the above highlights the relevance of immunogenetic analysis in CLL, which is considered a cornerstone for accurate risk stratification and clinical decision making. Recommendations for robust immunogenetic analysis exist thanks to dedicated efforts by ERIC, the European Research Initiative on CLL, covering all test phases, from the pre-analytical and analytical to the post-analytical, pertaining to the analysis, interpretation, and reporting of the findings. That said, these recommendations apply to Sanger sequencing, which is increasingly being superseded by next generation sequencing (NGS), further underscoring the need for an update. Here, we present an overview of the clinical utility of immunogenetics in CLL and update our analytical recommendations with the aim to assist in the refined management of patients with CLL.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genes, Immunoglobulin*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / genetics
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell* / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell* / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / genetics


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell