Chronic lymphocytic leukemia with clinical debut as neurological involvement: a rare phenomenon and the need for better predictive markers.
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Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in Western countries. The frequency of symptomatic central nervous system (CNS) involvement is unknown but thought to be a rare phenomenon. Currently there are no known risk factors for CNS involvement.We describe a clinically staged low-risk CLL case that presented with symptomatic CNS involvement and progressed rapidly to death. Evaluation of the surface adhesion molecules identified a markedly altered expression pattern of the integrin, CD49d, and the tetraspanin, CD82, in the index case when compared to similar low-risk CLL cases. We found that the early Rai clinical stage CLL patients showed linear correlation for the co-expression of CD82 and CD49d. In contrast, this unique index case with CNS involvement, which has the same Rai clinical stage, had a significantly lower expression of CD82 and higher expression of CD49d.These data suggest that the expression profile of CD49d and CD82 may represent potential biomarkers for patients with increased propensity of CNS involvement. Moreover, this study illustrates the critical need for a better mechanistic understanding of how specific adhesion proteins regulate the interactions between CLL cells and various tissue sites.