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Cancer Res. 2004 Mar 15;64(6):2264-9.

Characterization of the t(14;18) BCL2-IGH translocation in farmers occupationally exposed to pesticides.

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  • 1Groupe Régional d'Etudes sur le Cancer, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, Centre François Baclesse, Avenue du Général Harris, 14076 Caen CEDEX 05, France. s.roulland@baclesse.fr


Increasing incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have been associated repeatedly with farming occupation and particular attention focused on the role of pesticide exposure to potentially explain part of this trend. A genetic hallmark of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is the presence of recurrent chromosomal translocations involving the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene. Of these, the t(14;18), which deregulates BCL2 expression and inhibits apoptosis, is the most frequent in follicular lymphoma and has been detected consistently in peripheral blood lymphocytes of healthy individuals. As BCL2-IGH translocation represents an early step of the malignant process, we evaluated the occurrence and molecular characteristics of BCL2-IGH translocation in 56 individuals occupationally exposed to pesticides in open field farming They were selected from a representative cohort of farmers with a well-defined assessment of pesticide exposure taking into account potential confounding factors, smoking, sunlight, and age. Our results suggest that occupational exposure to pesticides would increase BCL2-IGH prevalence together with the frequency of BCL2-IGH-bearing cells especially during the high pesticide use period. Distribution of BCL2 or IGH breakpoint positions seemed to be independent of pesticide exposure and was similar to those found in other healthy populations or lymphoma patients. Finally, these results provide additional evidence that BCL2-IGH translocation measurements could be a measure of acquired genetic instability in relation to genotoxic exposure in a gene directly relevant in term of lymphomagenesis.

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