Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a B-cell malignancy with poor clinical outcome and undefined pathogenesis. Development of clinically relevant cellular models for MCL research is an urgent need. Our preliminary observations lead the development of two novel hypotheses that we tested in this study: 1. multicellular spheroid might be a unique growth mode of early-stage cells in MCL; 2. MCL might be a polyclonal tumor. We made the following original observations that have not been reported: First, we have provided a new experiment method for enriching MCL early-stage cells and characterized the spheroid mode of growth as a unique feature of early-stage MCL cells in cell line as well as in clinical samples. Second, we have established a clinically relevant cellular model of MCL, the JeKo-1-spheroid cell line, that was highly enriched in early-stage sub-clones. JeKo-1-spheroid cells and the spheroid growing cells enriched from MCL patients exhibited comparably enhanced tumorigenic abilities and similar biological features. Third, Immunophenotypic analysis has revealed that MCL may be derived from precursor-B(pre-B), immature-B and mature-B cells, not only the mature-B cells as WHO classified in 2016. Fourth, MCL may be a polyclonal disease composed of CD19 –/IgM –, CD19 –/IgM +, CD19 +/IgM + three sub-clones, of which the CD19 –/IgM + sub-clone might be the dominant sub-clone with the strongest tumorigenic ability. Fifth, CD19 +/IgM – that differentiates MCL and normal B cells may represent a new marker for MCL early detection, minor residual disease monitoring after therapies and prognosis.