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J Exp Med. 2012 Aug 27;209(9):1553-65. doi: 10.1084/jem.20120910. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Whole-genome sequencing identifies recurrent somatic NOTCH2 mutations in splenic marginal zone lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL), the most common primary lymphoma of spleen, is poorly understood at the genetic level. In this study, using whole-genome DNA sequencing (WGS) and confirmation by Sanger sequencing, we observed mutations identified in several genes not previously known to be recurrently altered in SMZL. In particular, we identified recurrent somatic gain-of-function mutations in NOTCH2, a gene encoding a protein required for marginal zone B cell development, in 25 of 99 (∼25%) cases of SMZL and in 1 of 19 (∼5%) cases of nonsplenic MZLs. These mutations clustered near the C-terminal proline/glutamate/serine/threonine (PEST)-rich domain, resulting in protein truncation or, rarely, were nonsynonymous substitutions affecting the extracellular heterodimerization domain (HD). NOTCH2 mutations were not present in other B cell lymphomas and leukemias, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL; n = 15), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL; n = 15), low-grade follicular lymphoma (FL; n = 44), hairy cell leukemia (HCL; n = 15), and reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (n = 14). NOTCH2 mutations were associated with adverse clinical outcomes (relapse, histological transformation, and/or death) among SMZL patients (P = 0.002). These results suggest that NOTCH2 mutations play a role in the pathogenesis and progression of SMZL and are associated with a poor prognosis.

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