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Blood. 2005 May 15;105(10):3979-86. Epub 2005 Jan 27.

Expression of the human germinal center-associated lymphoma (HGAL) protein, a new marker of germinal center B-cell derivation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Dr, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


We identified the human germinal center-associated lymphoma (HGAL) in gene-expression profiling studies of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The expression of HGAL correlated with survival in patients with DLBCL. The HGAL gene is the human homolog of M17, a mouse gene expressed specifically in normal germinal center (GC) B cells. We generated a monoclonal antibody against the HGAL protein and show that HGAL is expressed in the cytoplasm of GC lymphocytes and in lymphomas of GC derivation. Among 727 lymphomas tested by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays, HGAL staining was found in follicular lymphomas (103 of 107), Burkitt lymphomas (40 of 40), mediastinal large B lymphomas (7 of 8), and in DLBCLs (103 of 151). Most marginal zone lymphomas lacked HGAL staining. Lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphomas (12 of 17) and, surprisingly, classical Hodgkin lymphomas (78 of 107) were found to be positive. Hierarchical clustering of comparative immunohistologic results in DLBCLs demonstrates that the expression of HGAL is similar to 2 other GC-associated proteins, BCL6 and CD10, but different from 2 markers associated with a non-GC phenotype, MUM1/IRF4 and BCL2. The restricted expression and GC specificity of HGAL protein suggest that it may have an important role in the diagnosis of specific lymphomas, and, potentially in the identification of subtypes associated with different prognoses.

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