Phenotypic features of leukemic cells are considered to reflect the maturation stage at which the neoplastic cell accumulates; at the same time aberrant patterns of protein expression presumably relate to the genetic abnormalities carried by the tumor cells (17). Accordingly, leukemic cells from patients suffering from B-CLPD would display, at least to a certain extent, phenotypic features similar to those of mature B-cells, which would allow subclassification of CLPD according to the degree of maturation of neoplastic B-cells; in turn, the aberrant phenotypes of these leukemic B-cells, would provide a unique screening tool for the identification of underlying genetic abnormalities. Although the former concept appears to be true (29,30), the latter still remains to be confirmed in leukemic B-CLPD.
These data highlight the need to know in advance the exact immunophenotypic features of normal mature PB and/or BM B-cells, including the phenotype of naive, memory, and antibody-secreting B-cells; in line with this, knowledge of the phenotypic features of normal B-cells present in lymph nodes, spleen, and other lymphoid tissues is also essential for an accurate subclassification of primary lymphomas with PB involvement.
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