Monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are clonal B-cell disorders associated with an increased risk of infections and impaired vaccination responses. We investigated the immunogenicity of recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV) in these patients. Individuals with MBL/untreated CLL and Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor (BTKi)-treated CLL patients were given two doses of RZV separated by 2 months. Responses assessed at 3 and 12 months from the first dose of RZV by an anti-glycoprotein E ELISA antibody assay and by dual-color Interferon-γ and Interleukin-2FLUOROSPOT assays were compared to historic controls matched by age and sex. About 62 patients (37 MBL/untreated CLL and 25 BTKi-treated CLL) were enrolled with a median age of 68 years at vaccination. An antibody response at 3 months was seen in 45% of participants, which was significantly lower compared to historic controls (63%, p =.03). The antibody response did not significantly differ between MBL/untreated CLL and BTKi-treated CLL (51% vs. 36%, respectively, p =.23). The CD4+ T-cell response to vaccination was significantly lower in study participants compared to controls (54% vs. 96%, p <.001), mainly due to lower responses among BTKi-treated patients compared to untreated MBL/CLL (32% vs. 73%, p =.008). Overall, only 29% of participants achieved combined antibody and cellular responses to RZV. Among participants with response assessment at 12 months (n = 47), 24% had antibody titers below the response threshold. Hypogammaglobulinemia and BTKi therapy were associated with reduced T-cell responses in a univariate analysis. Strategies to improve vaccine response to RZV among MBL/CLL patients are needed.
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