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.
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.
Immunoglobulin (Ig) gene remodeling by V(D)J recombination plays a central role in the generation of normal B cells, and somatic hypermutation and class switching of Ig genes are key processes during antigen-driven B cell differentiation. However, errors of these processes are involved in the development of B cell lymphomas. Ig locus-associated translocations of proto-oncogenes are a hallmark of many B cell malignancies. Additional transforming events include inactivating mutations in various tumor suppressor genes, and also latent infection of B cells with viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus. Many B cell lymphomas require B cell antigen receptor expression, and in several instances chronic antigenic stimulation plays a role in sustaining tumor growth. Often, survival and proliferation signals provided by other cells in the microenvironment are a further critical factor in lymphoma development and pathophysiology. Many B cell malignancies derive from germinal center B cells, most likely because of the high proliferation rate of these cells and the high activity of mutagenic processes.
Progranulin (Pgrn) is a 88 kDa secreted protein with pleiotropic functions including regulation of cell cycle progression, cell motility, wound repair and tumorigenesis. Using microarray based gene expression profiling we have recently demonstrated that the gene for Pgrn, granulin (GRN), is significantly higher expressed in aggressive CD38(+)ZAP-70(+) as compared to indolent CD38(-)ZAP-70(-) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cases. Here, we measured Pgrn plasma concentrations by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in the Essen CLL cohort of 131 patients and examined Pgrn for association with established prognostic markers and clinical outcome. We found that high Pgrn plasma levels were strongly associated with adverse risk factors including unmutated IGHV status, expression of CD38 and ZAP-70, poor risk cytogenetics (11q-, 17p-) as detected by flourescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and high Binet stage. Pgrn as well as the aforementioned risk factors were prognostic for time to first treatment and overall survival in this series. Importantly, these results could be confirmed in the independent multicentric CLL1 cohort of untreated Binet stage A patients (n?=?163). Here, multivariate analysis of time to first treatment revealed that high risk Pgrn (HR?=?2.06, 95%-CI?=?1.13-3.76, p?=?0.018), unmutated IGHV status (HR?=?5.63, 95%-CI?=?3.05-10.38, p<0.001), high risk as defined by the study protocol (HR?=?2.06, 95%-CI?=?1.09-3.89, p?=?0.026) but not poor risk cytogenetics were independent prognostic markers. In summary our results suggest that Pgrn is a novel, robust and independent prognostic marker in CLL that can be easily measured by ELISA.
To understand the influence of chromosomal alterations on gene expression in a genome-wide view, chromosomal imbalances detected by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips were compared with global gene expression in 16 cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). A strong concordance between chromosomal gain or loss and increased or reduced expression of genes in the affected regions was found, respectively. Regions of uniparental disomy (UPD) were rare and had usually no consistent influence on gene expression, but in one instance, a large UPD was associated with a downregulation of most genes in the affected chromosome. The frequently deleted miRNAs, MIRN15A and MIRN16-1, did not show a reduced expression in cases with monoallelic deletions. The BCL2 protein, considered to be downregulated by these miRNAs, was upregulated not only in CLL with biallelic deletion of MIRN15A and MIRN16-1, but also in cases with monoallelic deletion. This suggests a complex regulation of BCL2 levels in CLL cells. Taken together, in CLL, a global gene dosage effect exists for chromosomal gains and deletions and in some instances for UPDs. We did not confirm a consistent correlation between MIRN15A and MIRN16-1 expression levels and BCL2 protein levels, indicating a complex regulation of BCL2 expression.
Little is known about genomic aberrations in peripheral T cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (PTCL NOS). We studied 47 PTCL NOS by 250k GeneChip single nucleotide polymorphism arrays and detected genomic imbalances in 22 of the cases. Recurrent gains and losses were identified, including gains of chromosome regions 1q32-43, 2p15-16, 7, 8q24, 11q14-25, 17q11-21 and 21q11-21 (> or = 5 cases each) as well as losses of chromosome regions 1p35-36, 5q33, 6p22, 6q16, 6q21-22, 8p21-23, 9p21, 10p11-12, 10q11-22, 10q25-26, 13q14, 15q24, 16q22, 16q24, 17p11, 17p13 and Xp22 (> or = 4 cases each). Genomic imbalances affected several regions containing members of nuclear factor-kappaB signalling and genes involved in cell cycle control. Gains of 2p15-16 were confirmed in each of three cases analysed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and were associated with breakpoints at the REL locus in two of these cases. Three additional cases with gains of the REL locus were detected by FISH among 18 further PTCL NOS. Five of 27 PTCL NOS investigated showed nuclear expression of the REL protein by immunohistochemistry, partly associated with genomic gains of the REL locus. Therefore, in a subgroup of PTCL NOS gains/rearrangements of REL and expression of REL protein may be of pathogenetic relevance.
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.
Disruption of circadian rhythm is believed to play a critical role in cancer development. Cryptochrome 1 (CRY1) is a core component of the mammalian circadian clock and we have previously shown its deregulated expression in a subgroup of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Using real-time RT-PCR in a cohort of 76 CLL patients and 35 normal blood donors we now demonstrate that differential CRY1 mRNA expression in high-risk (HR) CD38+/immunoglobulin variable heavy chain gene (IgVH) unmutated patients as compared to low-risk (LR) CD38-/IgVH mutated patients can be attributed to down-modulation of CRY1 in LR CLL cases. Analysis of the DNA methylation profile of the CRY1 promoter in a subgroup of 57 patients revealed that CRY1 expression in LR CLL cells is silenced by aberrant promoter CpG island hypermethylation. The methylation pattern of the CRY1 promoter proved to have high prognostic impact in CLL where aberrant promoter methylation predicted a favourable outcome. CRY1 mRNA transcript levels did not change over time in the majority of patients where sequential samples were available for analysis. We also compared the CRY1 expression in CLL with other lymphoid malignancies and observed epigenetic silencing of CRY1 in a patient with B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL).
Alterations in the function of the p53 pathway are frequently described in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), mostly associated with deletion of 17p13 and/or mutations of the TP53 gene. In the present study, we investigated 103 CLLs for the impact of protein expression of full-length p53 and its isoforms ? and ?. A strong correlation between deletions of 17p13 and an accumulation of full-length p53 protein was found and was associated with a worse outcome compared to CLL with normal p53 (treatment-free survival p < 0.001, overall survival p = 0.04). Interestingly, the relative expression levels between full-length p53 protein and its isoforms ? and ? were significantly altered in CLL even without deletions of 17p13, compared to normal B-cells (p = 0.005). Furthermore, CLLs with higher p53 protein ratios showed worse clinical courses compared to CLLs with lower p53 protein ratios. Taken together, the differential expression of p53 isoforms could disrupt the p53 response and contribute to CLL pathogenesis.
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