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Keywords:

  • chronic lymphocytic leukaemia;
  • T-cells;
  • telomere length;
  • immunosenescence;
  • microenvironment

Summary

In contrast to other B-cell neoplasias, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is characterized by increased non-leukaemic T-cells. In order to assess their replicative history, telomere length was analyzed in subsets of leucocytes from CLL patients. Naive and memory T-cells from ZAP-70+/CD38+ patients exhibited significantly shorter average telomere lengths than ZAP-70/CD38 patients. Compared to the age-related percentiles of telomere length values from healthy individuals practically all values of the naive and memory T-cells from the ZAP-70+/CD38+ CLL patients fell below the 50th percentile. This indicated an extensive expansion and a role for T-cells in ZAP-70+/CD38+ CLL patients.