Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by the accumulation of clonal B cells arrested in G0/G1 stages that coexist with proliferative B cells. We identified one of these proliferative subsets in the peripheral blood from patients with unmutated disease (UM). Aiming to characterize the molecular mechanism underlying this proliferative behavior, we performed gene expression analysis of the mRNA and microRNAs in this leukemic subpopulation and compared results with those for the quiescent counterpart. Our results suggest that proliferation of this subset mainly depends on microRNA-22 overexpression, which induces phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) down-regulation and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway activation. These results underline the role of the PI3K/AKT pathway at the origin of this proliferative pool in patients with UM CLL and provide additional rationale for the use of PI3K inhibitors.
- CLL microenvironment signals
- Unmutated patients