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Jennifer R. Brown, MD, PhD


Study Identifies New Prognostic Marker for Patients With CLL

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2022

For patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the use of serum B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) may serve as a novel prognostic marker, according to a study published in Experimental Hematology. The prognostic ability to predict the time to first treatment and overall survival increased when the serum BCMA was added to the two traditional predictive measures—the CLL International Prognostic Index and the International Prognostic Score for early-stage CLL—explained James R. Berenson, MD, of the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, West Hollywood, California.

“If validated in larger data sets, the determination of serum BCMA and affirmation of its value in predicting outcomes for CLL patients would be a major advance in our ability to predict outcomes for newly diagnosed CLL patients,” explained Dr. Berenson.

A total of 331 patients with untreated, newly diagnosed CLL were recruited for the study from the Mayo Clinic. Serum BCMA levels were measured in all patients using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with a polyclonal antiserum against BCMA. All patients were matched by age and sex with healthy controls.

The study authors identified elevated levels of the median serum BCMA in patients with CLL (48.6 ng/mL) as compared with age- and sex-matched healthy controls (37.8 ng/mL; P < .001). In addition, serum BCMA levels were elevated among patients with increased risk scores as calculated by the CLL International Prognostic Index and the International Prognostic Score for early-stage CLL. Moreover, there was a positive correlation between serum BCMA levels with the time to first treatment (hazard ratio = 2.9) and overall survival (hazard ratio = 2.5).

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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