Stevenson, Freda K., Sahota, Surinder S., Ottensmeier, Christian H., Zhu, Delin, Forconi, Francesco and Hamblin, Terry J.
The occurrence and significance of V gene mutations in B cell-derived human malignancy.
Advances in Cancer Research, 83, . (doi:10.1016/S0065-230X(01)83004-9).
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The classification of B cell tumors has relevance for refining and improving clinical strategies. However, consensus has been difficult to establish, and although a scheme is now available, objective criteria are desirable. Genetic technology will underpin and extend current knowledge, and it is certain to reveal further subdivisions of current tumor categories. The Ig variable region genes of B cell tumors present a considerable asset for this area of investigation. The unique sequences carried in neoplastic B cells are easily isolated and sequenced. In addition to acting as clone-specific markers of each tumor, they indicate where the cell has come from and track its history following transformation. There is emerging clinical value in knowing whether the cell of origin has encountered antigen and has moved from the naive compartment to the germinal center, where somatic mutation is activated. This is amply illustrated by the subdivision of chronic lymphocytic leukemia into two subsets, unmutated or mutated, each with very different prognosis. Other tumors may be subdivided in a similar way. Microarray technology is developing rapidly to probe gene expression and to further divide tumor categories. All these genetic analyses will provide objective data to enhance both our understanding of B cell tumors and our ability to treat them.
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