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Cancer. 2006 Feb 25;108(1):10-20.

The feasibility of gene expression profiling generated in fine-needle aspiration specimens from patients with follicular lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.


Lymphoma of germinal center cell (GC) origin generally is an indolent malignancy that transforms progressively into a more aggressive disease. According to the World Health Organization classification, lymphomas of follicular center cell origin are classified as either large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) or follicular lymphoma (FL). The authors tested the feasibility of performing gene expression profiling using amplified RNA from fine-needle aspirates (FNA) obtained from lymph nodes. Twenty-four samples from patients with a diagnosis of FL or LBCL were obtained after Institutional Review Board-approved informed consent was obtained. The diagnoses were confirmed by 2 pathologists and were classified into 2 groups (10 LBCL samples and 14 FL samples) by using conventional morphology and immunophenotyping. One hundred nanograms of total RNA were subjected to 2 cycles of standard, double-stranded complementary DNA synthesis and in vitro transcription for target amplification using a small-sample target-labeling protocol. The biotinylated cRNA from each sample was hybridized to gene chips. Gene expression profiling results were analyzed first by principal-component analysis (PCA) by using a list of 146 probe sets that represented 62 genes that are characteristic of an activated B-cell (ABC) signature or a GC signature. The analysis identified 5 LBCL samples with an ABC cell signature. Using a list of 207 probe sets that represented 113 genes involved in FL transformation, PCA analysis identified 2 overlapping clusters corresponding to FL and GC-diffuse LBCL. To improve this classification further, the authors generated a list of 72 genes that were expressed differentially between FL and GC-LBCL. Using this list of genes, PCA analysis demonstrated a clear separation between FL and GC-LBCL. However, five FL samples clustered as an intermediate group between FL and GC-DLBCL. These samples were characterized morphologically by a mixed cell pattern with relatively fewer large, noncleaved lymphocytes and more small, cleaved lymphocytes. The results support the feasibility of FNA-based transcription profiles in patients with FL or LBCL, which, in combination with morphology and immunophenotyping, can help in the subtyping of these entities.

(c) 2006 American Cancer Society.

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