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Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: the role of T cells in a B cell disease

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Published:3rd Apr 2019
Author: Man S, Henley P.
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Ref.:Br J Haematol. 2019.

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) has long been thought to be an immunosuppressive disease and abnormalities in T-cell subset distribution and function have been observed in many studies. However, the role of T cells (if any) in disease progression remains unclear and has not been directly studied. This has changed with the advent of new therapies, such as chimeric antigen receptor-T cells, which actively use retargeted patient-derived T cells as “living drugs” for CLL. However complete responses are relatively low (~26%) and recent studies have suggested the differentiation status of patient T cells before therapy may influence efficacy. Non-chemotherapeutic drugs, such as idelalisib and ibrutinib, also have an impact on T cell populations in CLL patients. This review will highlight what is known about T cells in CLL during disease progression and after treatment, and discuss the prospects of using T cells as predictive biomarkers for immune status and response to therapy.


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