Prevalence of monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis: A systematic review

Youn K. Shim, Dannie C. Middleton, Neil E. Caporaso, Jane M. Rachel, Ola Landgren, Fatima Abbasi, Elizabeth S. Raveche, Andy C. Rawstron, Alberto Orfao, Gerald E. Marti, Robert F. Vogt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Individuals with monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) have been identified in clinic outpatients, in unaffected relatives of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and in general populations. MBL and its relationship with CLL have been actively investigated over the last decade. This report systematically reviews the prevalence of MBL in the context of the populations studied and the evolution of laboratory methods used to define MBL. Methods: To identify published studies that have assessed the prevalence of MBL, we systematically searched the MEDLINE® databases and consulted with members of the International MBL Study Group. We reviewed the 10 articles that were identified by this process. We abstracted information on study populations, laboratory tests, criteria for designating MBL, and the reported frequencies. Results: Three of the ten studies were published in 2009, three between 2007 and 2008, and four between 2002 and 2004. Reported prevalences varied widely, ranging from 0.12 to 18.2%. This variability was clearly associated with both the laboratory methods and the populations studied. MBL was more common among older individuals and kindred of persons with CLL. The most common MBL subtype was CLL-like MBL. Conclusions: Large population-based studies of MBL that employ standardized laboratory methods with a consensus case definition are needed to assess prevalence and establish risk factors. These studies should include prospective follow-up of MBL cases to determine the relationship between MBL and CLL. Data from original studies should be reported in sufficient detail to allow future synthesis of information from multiple studies, such as meta-analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S10-S18
JournalCytometry Part B - Clinical Cytometry
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • CLL
  • Epidemiology
  • MBL
  • Monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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