Surface and cytoplasmic immunoglobulin expression in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).Exp Mol Pathol. 2005 Oct; 79(2):146-50.EM
Flow cytometric analysis of abnormal lymphocyte populations in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has been widely reported to show weak expression of surface immunoglobulin (sIg). The international scoring system to help discriminate between CLL and other B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders lists this as the first of 5 criteria worth 1 point each. In the present study, 30 cases of CLL were studied for surface and cytoplasmic Ig expression. 23 of these 30 (76.7%) cases were positive for sIg. Of these 23, 14 cases (60.9%) showed moderate to bright sIg expression. All of these 23 cases were positive for CD5 and CD23; all were negative for CD10 and only 6 (26.1%) were positive for FMC7. 27 of 30 (90.0%) cases expressed cytoplasmic immunoglobulin (cIg) compared to 5% reported by others. This shows that cytoplasmic Ig occurs in a much greater percentage of cases than reported previously. 23 of 30 (76.7%) cases showed positivity for both surface and cytoplasmic Ig, with 15 showing kappa light chain restriction and 8 showing lambda light chain restriction. Six expressed cytoplasmic Ig only, with 4 showing kappa light chain restriction and 2 showing lambda light chain restriction. One case expressed neither cytoplasmic nor surface Ig. CD38 positivity portends a worse prognosis. Of the 29 cases tested for CD38, 13 (44.8%) were positive. Of these 13 cases, 12 were in the surface Ig/cytoplasmic Ig+ group and 1 in the cytoplasmic Ig+ group only. Also, of the 23 cases tested for CD22 expression, 16 (69.6%) were positive. These data question the use of both "weak" surface Ig expression and lack of CD22 expression as valid scoring criteria for CLL.