The presence of clonogenic cells in high-grade malignant lymphoma: a prognostic factor

ME Tweeddale, B Lim, N Jamal, J Robinson, J Zalcberg, G Lockwood, MD Minden and HA Messner.
Blood. 1987 May;69(5):1307-1314.
A culture system has been developed that promotes growth of clonogenic lymphoma cells of some patients with intermediate and high-grade malignant lymphoma. The formation of colonies in bone marrow, lymph nodes, and peripheral blood samples is best supported by human plasma. Colony formation of some patients was dependent upon growth factors, which in this study were added in the form of medium conditioned by phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated leukocytes (PHA-LCM). Some gave rise to lymphoma colonies without PHA-LCM but improved their frequency with PHA-LCM; others were completely independent of PHA-LCM. Colonies grown in primary cultures were routinely recloned and propagated as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-negative cell lines with stable B cell phenotype. The cell lines showed the same immunoglobulin rearrangement pattern as that observed in the primary lymphoma sample. In addition, a significant clinical correlation was observed between culture data and clinical outcome. Survival of patients who formed lymphoma colonies at any time during their clinical course was significantly shorter than survival of patients who did not give rise to colonies (P = 0.0009). The same observation was made when the survival assessment was performed for the subset of patients studied at diagnosis (P = 0.0014).