To identify novel genes involved in the molecular pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) we performed a serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) in CLL cells, and compared this with healthy B cells (nCD19+). We found a high level of similarity among CLL subtypes, but a comparison of CLL versus nCD19+ libraries revealed 55 genes that were over-represented and 49 genes that were down-regulated in CLL. A gene ontology analysis revealed that TOSO, which plays a functional role upstream of Fas extrinsic apoptosis pathway, was over-expressed in CLL cells. This finding was confirmed by real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction in 78 CLL and 12 nCD19+ cases (P < .001). We validated expression using flow cytometry and tissue microarray and demonstrated a 5.6-fold increase of TOSO protein in circulating CLL cells (P = .013) and lymph nodes (P = .006). Our SAGE results have demonstrated that TOSO is a novel over-expressed antiapoptotic gene in CLL
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