Chromosome anomalies detected by interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization: correlation with significant biological features of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia


Gordon W. Dewald, PhD, Division of Laboratory Genetics, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. E-mail:


Summary. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was used to detect 6q–, 11q–, +12, 13q–, 17p– and translocations involving 14q32 in interphase nuclei from blood and/or bone marrow from 113 patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (B-CLL). A total of 87 patients (77%) had a FISH anomaly: 13q– × 1 was most frequent (64%) followed by 13q– × 2 (28%), +12 (25%), 11q– (15%), 17p– (8%) and 6q– (0%). FISH results for blood and bone marrow cells in 38 patients were similar. Purified CD5+/CD19+ cells from blood were studied in eight patients and results indicate that in some patients not all B cells have FISH anomalies. We used a defined set of hierarchical FISH risk categories to compare FISH results by stable versus progressive disease, age, sex, Rai stage, CD38+ expression and IgVH mutational status. Significant differences in FISH risk distributions were associated with Rai stage, disease status and CD38+, but not by age, sex or IgVH mutational status. To look for baseline factors associated with high-risk disease, multivariate analysis of age, sex, Rai stage, CD38+ and disease status versus FISH risk category was performed. Importantly, only CD38+ was significantly associated with high-risk FISH categories (+12, 11q– and 17p–) after adjustment for the effects of other variables.