Altered expression of metabolic pathways in CLL detected by unlabelled quantitative mass spectrometry analysis

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) remains the most common incurable malignancy of B cells in the western world. Patient outcomes are heterogeneous and can be difficult to predict with current prognostic markers. Here, we used a quantitative label-free proteomic technique to ascertain differences in the B-cell proteome from healthy donors and CLL patients with either mutated (M-CLL) or unmutated (UM-CLL) IGHV to identify new prognostic markers. In peripheral B-CLL cells, 349 (22%) proteins were differentially expressed between normal B cells and B-CLL cells and 189 (12%) were differentially expressed between M-CLL and UM-CLL. We also examined the proteome of proliferating CLL cells in the lymph nodes, and identified 76 (~8%) differentially expressed proteins between healthy and CLL lymph nodes. B-CLL cells show over-expression of proteins involved in lipid and cholesterol metabolism. A comprehensive lipidomic analysis highlighted large differences in glycolipids and sphingolipids. A shift was observed from the pro-apoptotic lipid ceramide towards the anti-apoptotic/chemoresistant lipid, glucosylceramide, which was more evident in patients with aggressive disease (UM-CLL). This study details a novel quantitative proteomic technique applied for the first time to primary patient samples in CLL and highlights that primary CLL lymphocytes display markers of a metabolic shift towards lipid synthesis and breakdown.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16261121
Pages (from-to)65-78
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • proteomics
  • lipidomics
  • metabolism
  • CLL


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