Lymphocyte Doubling Time As A Key Prognostic Factor To Predict Time To First Treatment In Early-Stage Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Fortunato Morabito, Giovanni Tripepi, Riccardo Moia, Anna Grazia Recchia, Paola Boggione, Francesca Romana Mauro, Sabrina Bossio, Graziella D’Arrigo, Enrica Antonia Martino, Ernesto Vigna, Francesca Storino, Gilberto Fronza, Francesco Di Raimondo, Davide Rossi, Adalgisa Condoluci, Monica Colombo, Franco Fais, Sonia Fabris, Robin Foa, Giovanna CutronaMassimo Gentile, Emili Montserrat, Gianluca Gaidano, Manlio Ferrarini, Antonino Neri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prognostic role of lymphocyte doubling time (LDT) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) was recognized more than three decades ago when the neoplastic clone’s biology was almost unknown. LDT was defined as the time needed for the peripheral blood lymphocyte count to double the of the initial observed value. Herein, the LDT prognostic value for time to first treatment (TTFT) was explored in our prospective O-CLL cohort and validated in in two additional CLL cohorts. Specifically, newly diagnosed Binet stage A CLL patients from 40 Italian Institutions, representative of the whole country, were prospectively enrolled into the O-CLL1-GISL protocol ( identifier: NCT00917540). Two independent cohorts of newly diagnosed CLL patients recruited respectively at the Division of Hematology in Novara, Italy, and at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, were utilized as validation cohorts. In the training cohort, TTFT of patients with LDT >12 months was significantly longer related to those with a shorter LDT. At Cox multivariate regression model, LDT ≤ 12 months maintained a significant independent relationship with shorter TTFT along with IGHV unmutated (IGHVunmut) status, 11q and 17p deletions, elevated β2M, Rai stage I-II, and NOTCH1 mutations. Based on these statistics, two regression models were constructed including the same prognostic factors with or without the LDT. The model with the LTD provided a significantly better data fitting (χ2 = 8.25, P=0.0041). The risk prediction developed including LDT had better prognostic accuracy than those without LDT. Moreover, the Harrell’C index for the scores including LDT were higher than those without LDT, although the accepted 0.70 threshold exceeded in both cases. These findings were also confirmed when the same analysis was carried out according to TTFT’s explained variation. When data were further analyzed based on the combination between LDT and IGHV mutational status in the training and validation cohorts, IGHVunmut and LDT>12months group showed a predominant prognostic role over IGHVmut LTD ≤ 12 months (P=0.006) in the O-CLL validation cohort. However, this predominance was of borden-line significance (P=0.06) in the Barcelona group, while the significant prognostic impact was definitely lost in the Novara group. Overall, in this study, we demonstrated that LDT could be re-utilized together with the more sophisticated prognostic factors to manage the follow-up plans for Binet stage A CLL patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number684621
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2 2021


  • CLL
  • early stage
  • lymphocyte doubling time
  • prognosis
  • TTFT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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