Lineage relationship of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and hairy cell leukemia: Studies with TPA

Federico Caligaris-Cappio, George Janossy, Dario Campana, Marco Chilosi, Luciana Bergui, Roberto Foá, Domenico Delia, Maria Cristina Giubellino, Paola Preda, Marco Gobbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tumor promoting agent TPA (phorbol ester; 1.6 × 10-M was used to induce the differentiation in vitro of B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) cells from 14 untreated patients. The uninduced phenotype was SIg+, Mrbc+, RFT-J+, RFA--, FMC7-. After 72 h incubation with TPA, B-CLL cells became RFA-4+, FMC7+ and lost the capability of Mrbc rosetting. Large proportions of the "tinduced" cells also showed morphological and ultrastructural changes, such as undulating membranes and bleblike protusions and became strongly positive for tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP+) and also contained cytoplasmic immunoglobulins. These features are very similar to the features of hairy cell leukemia (HCL). These observations confirm previous clinical findings that B-CLL and HCL are related disorders of the B lineage. The development of "hairy" features in induced B-CLL and in HCL seems to be a malignancy-associated feature because the Mrbc+ normal B cells (B-CLL-equivalent cells) isolated from tonsil also develop TRAP positivity but no membrane aberrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-578
Number of pages12
JournalLeukemia Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1984


  • B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • B-prolymphocytic leukemia
  • hairy cell leukemia
  • lymphocyte differentiation
  • TPA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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