Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is characterized by the translocation t(11;14)(q13;q32) leading to an overexpression of cyclin D1, a mediator of G1-S phase transition. Thus MCL is regarded as a paradigm of lymphoma with a dysregulated cell cycle. The proliferation rate of MCL is in fact a strong predictor of outcome. We analyzed proteins that are expressed at defined cell cycle phases, such as Ki67, survivin and phosphorylated histone H3 as well as cyclin D1, p53 and p27, on the cellular level by immunofluorescence double stainings in MCL biopsy specimens. Unexpectedly, we did not detect a shortening of early phases in MCL in vivo. Despite the control of the immunoglobulin enhancer, cyclin D1 was expressed in a cell cycle-dependent manner. However, the proliferating Ki67-positive tumor cells expressed low amounts of cyclin D1. Therefore, the expression of cyclin D1 appears not to be the driving factor behind the total proliferation rate of MCL.
Although the vast majority of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) are negative for the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a subset of DLBCL in immunocompetent patients carries EBV in the lymphoma cells and expresses EBV-encoded RNA and/or proteins. EBV-positive DLBCL are rare and represent either pyothorax associated DLBCL or EBV-positive DLBCL of the elderly. In all cases of EBV-positive DLBCL, EBV is detectable in virtually all lymphoma cells, indicating that EBV was present at an initial phase of lymphomagenesis. We identified four lymphomas with an unusual EBV expression pattern. The majority of B-cell blasts were EBV-negative, but accompanied by a small number (less than 10 % of all B-cells) of EBV-positive B-cells with blastic morphology. The median age of the patients was 56.5 years, and no clinically evident immunosuppression was reported. In one patient EBV-positive blasts occurred in the gastric mucosa which resembled an EBV-positive mucocutaneous ulcer. In all cases EBV-positive B-cells occurred in small loose clusters within or adjacent to an EBV-negative DLBCL. In one case we were able to study immunoglobulin gene rearrangement in microdissected EBV-positive B-cells and the EBV-negative lymphoma compartment. This revealed different rearrangement patterns in EBV-negative DLBCL than in EBV-positive peritumoral B-cells, without clonal relationship between these B-cell populations. Despite the molecular data being limited to one patient, we suggest that in close proximity to EBV-negative DLBCL intra- and peritumoral EBV-positive B-cells may occur, possibly due to local immune escape mechanisms. This represents a diagnostic pitfall.
The pathogenesis of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) is only partly understood. We analyzed 148 DLBCL by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-chips to characterize genomic imbalances. Seventy-nine cases were of the germinal center B-cell like (GCB) type of DLBCL, 49 of the activated B-cell like (ABC) subtype and 20 were unclassified DLBCL. Twenty-four regions of recurrent genomic gains and 38 regions of recurrent genomic losses were identified over the whole cohort, with a median of 25 imbalances per case for ABC-DLBCL and 19 per case for GCB-DLBCL. Several recurrent copy number changes showed differential frequencies in the GCB- and ABC-DLBCL subgroups, including gains of HDAC7A predominantly in GCB-DLBCL (38% of cases) and losses of BACH2 and CASP8AP2 predominantly in ABC-DLBCL (35%), hinting at disparate pathogenetic mechanisms in these entities. Correlating gene expression and copy number revealed a strong gene dosage effect in all tumors, with 34% of probesets showing a concordant expression change in affected regions. Two new potential tumor suppressor genes emerging from the analysis, CASP3 and IL5RA, were sequenced in ten and 16 candidate cases, respectively. However, no mutations were found, pointing to a potential haploinsufficiency effect of these genes, considering their reduced expression in cases with deletions. Our study thus describes differences and similarities in the landscape of genomic aberrations in the DLBCL subgroups in a large collection of cases, confirming already known targets, but also discovering novel copy number changes with possible pathogenetic relevance.
Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is the most frequent B-cell lymphoma in childhood. Genetically, it is characterized by the presence of an IG-MYC translocation which is supposed to be an initiating but not sufficient event in Burkitt lymphomagenesis. In a recent whole-genome sequencing study of four cases, we showed that the gene encoding the ras homolog family member A (RHOA) is recurrently mutated in pediatric BL. Here, we analyzed RHOA by Sanger sequencing in a cohort of 101 pediatric B-cell lymphoma patients treated according to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster (NHL-BFM) study protocols. Among the 78 BLs in this series, an additional five had RHOA mutations resulting in a total incidence of 7/82 (8.5%) with c.14G>A (p.R5Q) being present in three cases. Modeling the mutational effect suggests that most of them inactivate the RHOA protein. Thus, deregulation of RHOA by mutation is a recurrent event in Burkitt lymphomagenesis in children.
The genetic hallmark of Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is the t(8;14)(q24;q32) and its variants leading to activation of the MYC oncogene. It is a matter of debate whether true BL without MYC translocation exists. Here, we identified 59 lymphomas concordantly called BL by 2 gene expression classifiers among 753 B-cell lymphomas. Only 2 (3%) of these 59 molecular BL lacked a MYC translocation, which both shared a peculiar pattern of chromosome 11q aberration characterized by interstitial gains including 11q23.2-q23.3 and telomeric losses of 11q24.1-qter. We extended our analysis to 17 MYC-negative high-grade B-cell lymphomas with a similar 11q aberration and showed this aberration to be recurrently associated with morphologic and clinical features of BL. The minimal region of gain was defined by high-level amplifications in 11q23.3 and associated with overexpression of genes including PAFAH1B2 on a transcriptional and protein level. The recurrent region of loss contained a focal homozygous deletion in 11q24.2-q24.3 including the ETS1 gene, which was shown to be mutated in 4 of 16 investigated cases. These findings indicate the existence of a molecularly distinct subset of B-cell lymphomas reminiscent of BL, which is characterized by deregulation of genes in 11q.
Chromosomal translocations affecting the MYC oncogene are the biologic hallmark of Burkitt lymphomas but also occur in a subset of other mature B-cell lymphomas. If accompanied by a chromosomal break targeting the BCL2 and/or BCL6 oncogene these MYC translocation positive (MYC+) lymphomas are called double-hit lymphomas, otherwise the term single-hit lymphomas is applied. In order to characterize the biologic features of these MYC+ lymphomas other than Burkitt lymphoma we explored, after exclusion of molecular Burkitt lymphoma as defined by gene expression profiling, the molecular, pathological and clinical aspects of 80 MYC-translocation positive lymphomas (31 single-hit, 46 double-hit & 3 MYC+-lymphomas with unknown BCL6 status). Comparison of single-hit and double-hit lymphomas revealed no difference in MYC partner (IG/non-IG), genomic complexity, MYC expression or gene expression profile. Double-hit lymphomas showed more frequent GCB-like gene expression profile and higher IGH and MYC mutation frequencies. Gene expression profiling revealed 130 differentially expressed genes between BCL6+/MYC+ and BCL2+/MYC+ double-hit lymphomas. BCL2+/MYC+ double-hit lymphomas showed a more frequent GCB-like gene expression profile. Analysis of all lymphomas according to MYC partner (IG/non-IG) revealed no substantial differences. In this series of lymphomas, in which immunochemotherapy was administered in only a minority of cases, single-hit and double-hit lymphomas had a similar poor outcome in contrast with molecular Burkitt lymphoma and lymphomas without MYC break. Our data suggest that, after excluding molecular Burkitt lymphoma and pediatric cases, MYC+ lymphomas are biologically quite homogenous with single-hit and double-hit lymphomas as well as IG-MYC and non-IG-MYC+ lymphomas sharing various molecular characteristics.
Pediatric follicular lymphoma is a rare disease that differs genetically and clinically from its adult counterpart. With the exception of pediatric follicular lymphoma with IRF4-translocation, the genetic events associated with these lymphomas have not yet been defined. We applied array-comparative genomic hybridization and molecular inversion probe assay analyses to formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from 18 patients aged 18 years and under with IRF4 translocation negative follicular lymphoma. All evaluable cases lacked t(14;18). Only 6 of 16 evaluable cases displayed chromosomal imbalances with gains or amplifications of 6pter-p24.3 (including IRF4) and deletion and copy number neutral-loss of heterozygosity in 1p36 (including TNFRSF14) being most frequent. Sequencing of TNFRSF14 located in the minimal region of loss in 1p36.32 showed nine mutations in 7 cases from our series. Two subsets of pediatric follicular lymphoma were delineated according to the presence of molecular alterations, one with genomic aberrations associated with higher grade and/or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma component and more widespread disease, and another one lacking genetic alterations associated with more limited disease.
Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma and classical Hodgkin lymphoma are considered 2 distinct entities whose co-occurrence in 1 patient is extremely rare. We report a case of nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma and classical Hodgkin lymphoma concurrently affecting the same lymph nodes in a 48-year-old male patient. Amplification and sequencing of the rearranged immunoglobulin heavy chain genes in tumor cells isolated by laser-assisted microdissection revealed identical variable, diverse and joining segment rearrangements and somatic hypermutation events, demonstrating a clonal relationship between the 2 lymphomas. The Epstein-Barr virus-encoded RNA and latent membrane protein 1 were present in the Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg cells of the classical Hodgkin lymphoma but not in the tumor cells of the nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma, pointing to a common precursor cell but differences in the early steps of pathogenesis.
The V600E mutation of the BRAF gene has been reported to be associated with poor prognosis of germ cell tumors in adult patients. We analyzed the mutational status of the BRAF and KRAS gene as well as MLH1 and MSH6 expression as surrogate markers for microsatellite instability in 70 pediatric germ cell tumors. Neither BRAF and KRAS mutations nor loss of MLH1 and MSH6 expression were found. Our data provide further evidence for patient age related biological differences in germ cell tumors and demonstrate that prognostic biomarkers cannot necessarily be transferred from one age group to the other.
The prognosis of germinal center-derived B-cell (GCB) lymphomas, including follicular lymphoma and diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), strongly depends on age. Children have a more favorable outcome than adults. It is not known whether this is because of differences in host characteristics, treatment protocols, or tumor biology, including the presence of chromosomal alterations. By screening for novel IGH translocation partners in pediatric and adult lymphomas, we identified chromosomal translocations juxtaposing the IRF4 oncogene next to one of the immunoglobulin (IG) loci as a novel recurrent aberration in mature B-cell lymphoma. FISH revealed 20 of 427 lymphomas to carry an IG/IRF4-fusion. Those were predominantly GCB-type DLBCL or follicular lymphoma grade 3, shared strong expression of IRF4/MUM1 and BCL6, and lacked PRDM1/BLIMP1 expression and t(14;18)/BCL2 breaks. BCL6 aberrations were common. The gene expression profile of IG/IRF4-positive lymphomas differed from other subtypes of DLBCL. A classifier for IG/IRF4 positivity containing 27 genes allowed accurate prediction. IG/IRF4 positivity was associated with young age and a favorable outcome. Our results suggest IRF4 translocations to be primary alterations in a molecularly defined subset of GCB-derived lymphomas. The probability for this subtype of lymphoma significantly decreases with age, suggesting that diversity in tumor biology might contribute to the age-dependent differences in prognosis of lymphoma.
Background Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma is a rare lymphoma accounting for no more than 3% of all B-cell lymphomas in children and adolescents. However, patients in this young age group with this lymphoma have the shortest event-free survival of patients with any B-cell lymphoma under current standard chemotherapy protocols. Lymphomas with features intermediate between primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma and classical Hodgkins lymphoma (mediastinal gray zone lymphomas) have been acknowledged in the latest World Health Organization classification. Recent studies suggest that mediastinal gray zone lymphomas have an aggressive clinical course whereas patients, at least adult ones, with primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma might respond very well to chemotherapy in combination with anti-CD20 antibody.
The survival of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients varies considerably, reflecting the molecular diversity of tumors. In view of the controversy whether cytologic features, immunohistochemical markers or gene expression signatures may capture this molecular diversity, we investigated which features provide prognostic information in a prospective trial in the R-CHOP treatment era. Within the cohort of DLBCLs patients treated in the RICOVER-60 trial of the German High-Grade Lymphoma Study Group (DSHNHL), we tested the prognostic impact of IB morphology in 949 patients. The expression of immunohistochemical markers CD5, CD10, BCL2, BCL6, human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR, interferon regulatory factor-4/multiple myeloma-1 (IRF4/MUM1), and Ki-67 was assessed in 506 patients. Expression of the immunohistochemical markers tested was of modest, if any, prognostic relevance. Moreover, the Hans algorithm using the expression patterns of CD10, BCL6, and interferon regulatory factor-4/multiple myeloma-1 failed to show prognostic significance in the entire cohort as well as in patient subgroups. IB morphology, however, emerged as a robust, significantly adverse prognostic factor in multivariate analysis, and its diagnosis showed a good reproducibility among expert hematopathologists. We conclude, therefore, that IB morphology in DLBCL is likely to capture some of the adverse molecular alterations that are currently not detectable in a routine diagnostic setting, and that its recognition has significant prognostic power.
Sequence variants at the TERT-CLPTM1L locus in chromosome 5p have been recently associated with disposition for various cancers. Here we show that this locus including the gene encoding the telomerase reverse-transcriptase TERT at 5p13.33 is rarely but recurrently targeted by somatic chromosomal translocations to IGH and non-IG loci in B-cell neoplasms, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma and splenic marginal zone lymphoma. In addition, cases with genomic amplification of TERT locus were identified. Tumors bearing chromosomal aberrations involving TERT showed higher TERT transcriptional expression and increased telomerase activity. These data suggest that deregulation of TERT gene by chromosomal abnormalities leading to increased telomerase activity might contribute to B-cell lymphomagenesis.
Juvenile xanthogranuloma (JXG) is a disorder of disputed origin thought to be related to the dermal/interstitial macrophage. A 5-year-old female presented with an aggressive systemic JXG that developed 5 months after the diagnosis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Examination of the T-cell receptor gamma (TCR-?) rearrangement in T-ALL blasts, JXG infiltrated lymph node biopsies and micro-dissected JXG histiocytes revealed an identical bi-allelic TCR-? rearrangement in all samples, thus providing evidence for a clonal relationship between T-ALL and JXG in this case.
The antibody-based targeted delivery of bioactive molecules to tumor vasculature is an attractive avenue to concentrate therapeutic agents at cancer sites, while sparing normal organs. L19, F8 and F16 are clinical-stage human monoclonal antibodies, which selectively recognize splice isoforms of fibronectin and tenascin-C in the modified extracellular matrix of neoplastic lesions. Here, we report the first comparative immunohistochemical analysis of L19, F8 and F16 in human Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. F16 was found to strongly stain the majority of lymphomas but also specimens of nonspecific lymphadenitis. By contrast, L19 exhibited a better discrimination between tumoral and inflammatory processes, yet at the expense of a weaker staining of the majority of lymphoma specimens investigated. The staining patterns observed for F8 were intermediate between the ones observed for L19 and F16. This study provides a rationale basis for the clinical investigation of therapeutic derivatives of the three antibodies in lymphoma patients.
Burkitt lymphoma is a mature aggressive B-cell lymphoma derived from germinal center B cells. Its cytogenetic hallmark is the Burkitt translocation t(8;14)(q24;q32) and its variants, which juxtapose the MYC oncogene with one of the three immunoglobulin loci. Consequently, MYC is deregulated, resulting in massive perturbation of gene expression. Nevertheless, MYC deregulation alone seems not to be sufficient to drive Burkitt lymphomagenesis. By whole-genome, whole-exome and transcriptome sequencing of four prototypical Burkitt lymphomas with immunoglobulin gene (IG)-MYC translocation, we identified seven recurrently mutated genes. One of these genes, ID3, mapped to a region of focal homozygous loss in Burkitt lymphoma. In an extended cohort, 36 of 53 molecularly defined Burkitt lymphomas (68%) carried potentially damaging mutations of ID3. These were strongly enriched at somatic hypermutation motifs. Only 6 of 47 other B-cell lymphomas with the IG-MYC translocation (13%) carried ID3 mutations. These findings suggest that cooperation between ID3 inactivation and IG-MYC translocation is a hallmark of Burkitt lymphomagenesis.
Translocations affecting chromosome subband 6p25.3 containing the IRF4 gene have been recently described as characteristic alterations in a molecularly distinct subset of germinal center B-cell-derived lymphomas. Secondary changes have yet only been described in few of these lymphomas. Here, we performed array-comparative genomic hybridization and molecular inversion probe microarray analyses on DNA from 12 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded and two fresh-frozen IRF4 translocation-positive lymphomas, which together with the previously published data on nine cases allowed the extension of copy number analyses to a total of 23 of these lymphomas. All except one case carried chromosomal imbalances, most frequently gains in Xq28, 11q22.3-qter, and 7q32.1-qter and losses in 6q13-16.1, 15q14-22.31, and 17p. No recurrent copy-neutral losses of heterozygosity were observed. TP53 point mutations were detected in three of six cases with loss of 17p. Overall this study unravels a recurrent pattern of secondary genetic alterations in IRF4 translocation-positive lymphomas.
Translocations involving immunoglobulin (IG) loci are the hallmarks of several subtypes of B-cell lymphoma. Common to these translocations is that cellular proto-oncogenes come under the influence of IG regulatory elements leading to deregulated expression. In case of a breakpoint in the IGH switch region, oncogene activation can take place on both derivative chromosomes, which means that in principle one translocation can result in concurrent activation of two genes. By fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), we identified a case of leukemic B-cell lymphoma in a child with an IGH break and unknown partner. Subsequent long-distance inverse PCR revealed fusion of IGH Sl in 14q32 and the 50 region of CBFA2T3 in 16q24.3, suggesting presence of the t(14;16)(q32;q24.3). Candidate oncogenes targeted through this translocation are CBFA2T3 and ACSF3, which could be activated on der(16) and der(14), respectively. FISH screening of a population-based cohort of B-cell lymphomas from a prospective trial for the treatment of lymphoma in childhood (BFM-NHL) identified additionally a follicular lymphoma Grade 3/diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with IGH-CBFA2T3/ACSF3 juxtaposition. Both lymphomas shared expression of CD10 and CD20 in the absence of TdT, suggesting a germinal center (GC) B-cell origin. Our data indicate that the CBFA2T3/ACSF3 locus is a novel recurrent oncogenic target of IGH translocations, which might contribute to the pathogenesis of pediatric GC-derived B-cell lymphoma.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most frequent type of B-cell lymphoma in adult patients but also occurs in children. Patients are currently assigned to therapy regimens based on arbitrarily chosen age limits only (eg, 18 or 60 years) and not biologically justified limits. A total of 364 diffuse large B-cell lymphomas and related mature aggressive B-cell lymphomas other than Burkitt lymphoma from all age groups were analyzed by comprehensive molecular profiling. The probability of several biologic features previously reported to be associated with poor prognosis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, such as ABC subtype, BCL2 expression, or cytogenetic complexity, increases with age at diagnosis. Similarly, various genetic features, such as IRF4 translocations, gains in 1q21, 18q21, 7p22, and 7q21, as well as changes in 3q27, including gains and translocations affecting the BCL6 locus, are significantly associated with patient age, but no cut-offs between age groups could be defined. If age was incorporated in multivariate analyses, genetic complexity lost its prognostic significance, whereas the prognostic impact of ABC subtype and age were additive. Our data indicate that aging is a major determinant of lymphoma biology. They challenge current concepts regarding both prognostic biomarkers and treatment stratification based on strict age cut-offs.
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