Introduction : Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common type of leukemia in Western populations, being rarer in Asian and African people. It has been suggested that patients with CLL from Africa might have a more aggressive disease compared with Causasien patients. In this study, we aimed to identify genetic factors that may account for this difference

Methods: We collected peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from a total of 75 patients with CLL, 25 from Senegal (Africa), and 50 from Siena. Since it is well known that there are differences in germline IGH repertoires between different populations, we also collected PBMCs from five healthy Senegalese individuals as control. We analyzed immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) genes mutational status by performing next-generation sequencing in these 2 groups of patients.

Results: We found that Senegalese patients more frequently had adverse prognostic factors and an unmutated profile. Furthermore, we documented that IGHV1 (IGHV1-69), IGHD3, and IGHJ6 were significantly more frequent in Senegalese patients, whereas IGHV3-30 was common and limited to the Italian cohort. Stereotyped receptors commonly detected in the white population were not recorded in our Senegalese series.

Conclusion: The different IGH repertoire we observed in the Senegalese cohort may reflect the diverse genetic and microenvironmental (ie, polymicrobial stimulation) background.


Gozzetti:Takeda: Honoraria; Amgen: Honoraria; Janssen: Honoraria, Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.