CCR4 expression in a case of cutaneous Richter's transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and in CLL patients with no skin manifestations

Laboratorio de Inmunología Oncológica, Instituto de Investigaciones Hematológicas, Academia Nacional de Medicina, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
European Journal Of Haematology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 03/2011; 87(1):80-6. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0609.2011.01613.x
Source: PubMed


 Richter's transformation of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) to cutaneous diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is very rare. We took the advantage of one of these cases to test the hypothesis that the chemokine receptor CCR4 is involved in the homing of CLL cells to skin.
 We evaluated CCR4 expression by flow cytometry in both circulating and skin CD19(+) leukemic cells from a patient with cutaneous DLBCL. As controls, we used peripheral blood samples from CLL patients without skin manifestations and from elderly healthy donors.
 We found that both DLBCL cells derived from the original CLL clone and circulating CLL cells from this patient expressed CCR4. Although it was previously reported that CCR4 is not expressed in CLL cells, we found that a low but significant proportion of leukemic cells from CLL patients with no skin manifestations do express CCR4. There was a positive correlation between the expression of CCR4 and the percentage of ZAP-70 of each sample. Moreover, we consistently observed a higher expression of CCR4 within CD19(+)CD38(+) and CD19(+)Ki67(+) subsets compared to CD19(+)CD38(-) and CD19(+)Ki67(-) lymphocytes from the same sample, respectively.
 We conclude that the chemokine receptor CCR4 is not a special feature of CLL cells with skin manifestation, but rather it is expressed in a low but significant proportion of peripheral blood CLL cells.

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    ABSTRACT: Traffic of tumor- and normal cells through the peripheral blood (PB) of patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) to the lymph nodes (LN) or spleen/ liver sites is governed by specific changes in surface and intracellular molecule expression. The study aims to investigate the potential association between different lymphocyte subsets, chemokine receptors or genetic alterations and specific clinical signs in a group of B-CLL patients. Forty-three patients were included in the study. The expression of CCR7, CXCR5, CXCR3, CCR4, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD27, CD28, CD45RA, CD25, CD127, CD38 was tested by multiparameter flow cytometry. Genetic alterations were determined by MLPA. We found increased frequency of CD38+ B-CLL cells directly correlated with the presence of LN>5cm. CXCR5 and CCR7 are homogenously expressed by monoclonal B-CLL cells. CCR4+ B-CLL cell frequency is found to be lower in the PB of patients presenting particular LN involvement. Heterogeneous and complex genetic alterations were found and only the presence of trisomy 12 associated with less frequent axillary LN involvement. We also report a significant increase in the frequency of total T cells and T cell subsets (effector- and central memory CD4+ T cells, regulatory T cells, follicular T helper cells, distinct functional CD8+ T cells) with the occurrence of specific clinical manifestations. Chemokine receptor expression on circulating CD4+ T cell subsets was augmented in connection to some specific LN locations. Consequently, clinical manifestations in B-CLL are linked to both, factors intrinsic to the monoclonal B cells, and external influences coming from the microenvironment.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014