From normal to clonal B cells: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) at the crossroad between neoplasia and autoimmunity

Paolo Ghia, Cristina Scielzo, Michela Frenquelli, Marta Muzio, Federico Caligaris-Cappio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a B-cell malignancy endowed with a number of features that recall autoimmune disorders, including the CD5 expression and the development of autoimmune manifestations restricted to self antigens expressed by hematopoietic cells. Several evidences strongly support the possibility that an antigenic stimulation through the B-cell receptor (BCR) is involved in the selection and possibly also the expansion of the malignant clone. Though all evidences suggest specific Ag recognition and possibly stimulation at different time-points, the nature of the Ag(s) is still unknown. It appears likely that CLL cells derive from a pool of auto/polyreactive CD5+ B cells. Hence CLL appears to be a B-cell malignancy triggered or facilitated in its development and evolution by an auto-Ag. The crucial issues have become to what extent this deleterious binding capacity is central to the natural history of the disease and how it relates to the malignant transformation of the cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007



  • Auto-antigen
  • B lymphocytes
  • CD5
  • Chronic lymphocytic leucemia
  • Immunoglobulin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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