Baff serum level predicts time to first treatment in early chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Stefano Molica, Giovanna Digiesi, Caterina Battaglia, Giovanna Cutrona, Anna Antenucci, Matteo Molica, Diana Giannarelli, Isabella Sperduti, Massimo Gentile, Fortunato Morabito, Manlio Ferrarini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyzed the correlation between well-established biological parameters of prognostic relevance in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) [i.e. mutational status of the immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region (IgVH), ZAP-70 and CD38 expression] and serum levels of B cell-activating factor (BAFF of the TNF family) by evaluating the impact of these variables on the time to first treatment (TFT) in a series of 169 previously untreated CLL patients in Binet stage A. Higher levels of BAFF were more frequently associated with female gender (P = 0.02), younger age (P = 0.01), Rai stage 0 (P = 0.002), higher platelet count (P = 0.005), mutated IgVH disease (P = 0.002), higher occurrence of normal cytogenetic profile or presence of 13q deletion (P = 0.02), low ZAP-70- (P = 0.003), and CD38-expression (P = 0.02). Maximally selected log-rank statistic plot identified a serum BAFF concentration of 0.313 ng/mL as the best cut-off (P <0.0001). This threshold recognized two subsets of patients with different TFT (P <0.0001). Because in multivariate analysis soluble BAFF [Hazard ratio (HR), 8.23; confidence Interval (CI) 95%,3.0-22.6, P <0.0001] and mutational status of IgVH (HR = 2.60; CI 95% 1.10-6.14, P = 0.03) maintained the discriminating power their combined effect on clinical outcome was assessed. When three groups were considered: (1) low-risk (n = 93), patients with concordant IgVHmut and higher soluble BAFF; (2) intermediate-risk (n = 50), patients with IgVHmut and low BAFF levels or IgVHunmut and soluble higher BAFF;(3) high-risk (n = 26), patients with concordant IgVH unmut and low soluble BAFF, the 2-yr TFTs were, respectively, 95%, 85%, and 41% (P <0.0001). In conclusion, our results indicate that in early B-cell CLL, the biological profile including among other parameters soluble BAFF may provide a useful insight into the complex interrelationship of prognostic variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-320
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Haematology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • prognosis
  • soluble BAFF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Medicine(all)


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