Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

CD79a: a novel marker for B-cell neoplasms in routinely processed tissue samples

  1. DY Mason,
  2. JL Cordell,
  3. MH Brown,
  4. J Borst,
  5. M Jones,
  6. K Pulford,
  7. E Jaffe,
  8. E Ralfkiaer,
  9. F Dallenbach, and
  10. H Stein
  1. University Department of Cellular Science, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.


The CD79 molecule, comprising two polypeptide chains, mb-1 (CD79a) and B29 (CD79b), is physically associated in the B-cell membrane with immunoglobulin. It transmits a signal after antigen binding and may, therefore, be considered the B cell equivalent of CD3. It appears before the pre-B-cell stage, and the mb-1 (CD79a) chain can still be present at the plasma cell stage. In this report, we describe a new anti-CD79a monoclonal antibody, JCB117, which reacts with human B cells in paraffin embedded tissue sections, including decalcified bone marrow trephines. When tested on a total of 454 paraffin embedded tissue biopsies, gathered from a number of different institutions, it reacted with the great majority (97%) of B-cell neoplasms, covering the full range of B-cell maturation, including 10 of 20 cases of myeloma/plasmacytoma. It is of interest that the antibody labels precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia samples, making it the most reliable B-cell marker detectable in paraffin-embedded specimens in this disorder. All neoplasms of T cell or nonlymphoid origin were negative, indicating that antibody JCB117 may be of value to diagnostic histopathologists for the identification of B-cell neoplasms of all maturation stages.