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Curr Opin Hematol. 2011 Jul;18(4):288-92. doi: 10.1097/MOH.0b013e32834706ee.

Molecular signatures in the diagnosis and management of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Cleveland Clinic, Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



This review summarizes recent data on the relevance of molecular subtypes of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma to clinical management and the potential to use subtyping to direct therapy.


Gene expression profiling and immunohistochemistry can distinguish between diffuse large B-cell lymphomas arising from germinal center-derived B-cells (GCB type) or activated B-cells (ABC type) with a high degree of concordance. This biologic distinction is highly relevant clinically. The ABC type is associated with a poor prognosis and is characterized biologically by constitutive activation of the NF-κB pathway and chronic activation of the B-cell receptor pathway, both of which confer an antiapoptotic phenotype and chemoresistance. Emerging preclinical and clinical data suggest that these pathways can be targeted specifically in ABC-type disease. New molecular techniques may allow further refinement of this approach.


Recent data support the concept that molecular subtyping of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is clinically relevant and likely to be incorporated into diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms. The availability of widely applicable and reproducible techniques for determining molecular subtype will be essential.

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