Pentraxin-related protein 3 (PTX3), commonly produced by myeloid and endothelial cells, is a humoral pattern recognition protein of the innate immune system. Because PTX3 plasma levels of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are high and most circulating cells in patients with CLL are CLL cells, we reasoned that CLL cells produce PTX3. Western immunoblotting revealed that low-density cells from seven of seven patients with CLL produce high levels of PTX3, flow cytometry analysis revealed that the PTX3-producing cells are B lymphocytes coexpressing CD19 and CD5, and confocal microscopy showed that PTX3 is present in the cytoplasm of CLL cells. Because STAT3 is constitutively activated in CLL cells, and because we identified putative STAT3 binding sites within the PTX3 gene promoter, we postulated that phosphorylated STAT3 triggers transcriptional activation of PTX3. Immunoprecipitation analysis of CLL cells' chromatin fragments showed that STAT3 Abs precipitated PTX3 DNA. STAT3 knockdown induced a marked reduction in PTX3 expression, indicating a STAT3- induced transcriptional activation of the PTX3 gene in CLL cells. Using an EMSA, we established and used a dual-reporter luciferase assay to confirm that STAT3 binds the PTX3 gene promoter. Downregulation of PTX3 enhanced apoptosis of CLL cells, suggesting that inhibition of PTX3 might benefit patients with CLL.