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Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in the world. The TCL1 gene, responsible for prolymphocytic T cell leukemia, is also over-expressed in human B cell malignancies and overexpression of the Tcl1 protein occurs frequently in CLL. Aging transgenic mice that over-express TCL1 under control of μ immunoglobulin gene enhancer, develop a CD5+ B cell lymphoproliferative disorder mimicking human CLL and implicating TCL1 in the pathogenesis of CLL. In the current study, we exploited this transgenic mouse to investigate two different CLL related issues: potential treatment of CLL and characterization of neoplasms that accompany CLL. We successfully transplanted CLL cells into syngeneic mice that led to CLL development in the recipient mice. This approach allowed us to verify the involvement of the Tcl1/Akt/mTOR biochemical pathway in the disease by testing the ability of a specific pharmacological agent, rapamycin, to slow CLL. We also showed that 36% of these transgenic mice were affected by solid malignancies, in which the expression of the Tcl1 protein was absent. These findings indicate that other oncogenic mechanism(s) may be involved in the development of solid tumors in Eμ-TCL1 transgenic mice.

[Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, Volume 47, 2006]