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Curr Opin Oncol. 2001 Sep;13(5):316-24.

Molecular features of B-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Institute of Human Genetics, University Hospital Kiel, Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Kiel, Germany.


Malignant transformation of B cells can occur at various steps of lymphocyte development, starting from early B-cell progenitors up to mature B cells, which reflects the heterogeneity of B-cell malignancies with regard to their biologic and clinical behavior. The genetic characterization of B-cell neoplasms during the past two decades has elucidated the mechanisms underlying B-cell lymphomagenesis and led to a more precise definition of lymphoma subgroups. This progress is reflected in the upcoming World Health Organization classification for hematologic neoplasms, which stresses the diagnostic importance of recurrent genetic alterations in leukemias and lymphomas. In the recent past, several genes deregulated by such recurrent chromosomal aberrations have been identified. In addition, the recent introduction of microarray technology has now allowed a more global assessment of gene dysregulation in B-cell oncogenesis and provided a new means for more exactly defining the molecular hallmarks of distinct lymphoma subtypes. This review will focus on recently described molecular features of B-cell lymphomas discovered by the application of new molecular cytogenetic techniques, advanced breakpoint cloning strategies, and microarray approaches.

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