Immune dysfunction is a hallmark of CLL/MBL; ~25% individuals with newly diagnosed CLL have hypogammaglobulinemia at diagnosis. In this study of newly diagnosed CLL/MBL, we sought to a) investigate the association between serum immunoglobulins and specific mutations identified by next generation sequencing, and b) determine if serum immunoglobulin levels predict TFT, independent of the CLL-International Prognostic Index (CLL-IPI) and tumor mutational load (TML).

We used the Mayo Clinic CLL Resource to identify newly diagnosed CLL/MBL individuals consented within 2 years of diagnosis. Baseline clinical characteristics and the CLL-IPI score was ascertained on all individuals. DNA was extracted from peripheral blood CD5+/CD19+ clonal B-cells; and the entire coding regions of 60 somatically recurring mutated CLL driver genes were enriched using a customized Agilent SureSelect gene panel and sequenced in Illumina Hiseq4000. Serum immunoglobulins were quantitated by radial immunodiffusion using Immunoplates. The relationship between serum immunoglobulins was assessed: a) with individual gene mutations (mutated vs. not); and b) using the TML score (using a value of 0, 1, and 2 or greater [2+] mutated genes). The impact of serum immunoglobulin levels on TFT was analyzed for all individuals.

Of 356 individuals identified, 80 (22%) had MBL, median age was 63 years (28-87), 261 (73%) were male, and the CLL-IPI distribution was: low risk (n=149, 42%), intermediate risk (n=112, 32%), and high/very high risk (n=94, 26%). We observed 43%, 39%, and 18% individuals with 0, 1, or 2+ mutated genes, respectively. The most commonly mutated genes were NOTCH1 (13%), SF3B1 (13%), TP53 (8%), ATM (8%), BIRC3 (7%), and NFKBIE (7%). Using standard cutoffs, 135 (38%) individuals had low serum IgG, 73 (21%) had low serum IgA, and 154 (44%) had low serum IgM at diagnosis.

There were no differences in individual gene mutation frequencies between individuals with low and normal serum IgG. In contrast, individuals with low serum IgA were more likely to have mutations in NOTCH1 (25% vs 10%) and ATM (14% vs 7%) compared to those with normal IgA, and individuals with low serum IgM were more likely to have mutations in NOTCH1 (19% vs 9%) and BIRC3 (11% vs 4%) compared to those with normal IgM (all p-values <0.05). There were no significant differences in individuals with low serum IgG based on TML scores of 0, 1, and 2+ (31%, 35%, 40%, respectively, p=0.28). However, individuals with low serum IgA and low serum IgM were more likely to have a higher TML (8%, 20%, 36% for IgA, p<0.0001; and 35%, 45%, 54% for IgM, p<0.0001, for TML scores of 0, 1, and 2+, respectively).

After a median follow-up of 6.9 years, 157 individuals required CLL therapy. After adjusting for CLL-IPI and TML, low serum IgG, low serum IgA, and low serum IgM (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.8, 2.3, and 2.4, respectively, all p-values <0.05) were independently associated with a shorter TFT.

Our study shows that individuals with CLL/MBL who harbor mutations in NOTCH1, ATM and BIRC3 are more likely to have low serum IgA and IgM at diagnosis. Serum IgA and IgM (but not serum IgG) levels decrease with an increase in the TML score. Finally, low serum immunoglobulins can predict TFT, independent of the CLL-IPI and TML, which has important implications for risk stratification in newly diagnosed CLL/MBL.

Citation Format: Sameer A. Parikh, Cristine Allmer, Geffen Kleinstern, Nicholas J. Boddicker, Shulan Tian, Cecilia B. De Campos, Laura A. Bruins, Daniel R. o"brien, Brian F. Kabat, Kari G. Rabe, Aaron D. Norman, Huihuang Yan, Xing Li, Timothy G. Call, Wei Ding, Jose F. Leis, Saad J. Kenderian, Celine M. Vachon, James R. Cerhan, Neil E. Kay, Susan L. Slager, Esteban Braggio. Serum immunoglobulins are an independent prognostic marker of time to first therapy in newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research 2020; 2020 Apr 27-28 and Jun 22-24. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2020;80(16 Suppl):Abstract nr 6466.