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Blood. 1996 Aug 15;88(4):1177-82.

Direct visualization of dispersed 11q13 chromosomal translocations in mantle cell lymphoma by multicolor DNA fiber fluorescence in situ hybridization.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Leiden University Hospital, Leiden University, The Netherlands.


Several hematologic malignancies are associated with specific chromosomal translocations. Because of the dispersed distribution, chromosomal breakpoints may be difficult to detect using molecular techniques. We present a new application of a recently developed method, DNA fiber fluorescence in situ hybridization (fiber FISH), which allows direct visualization and mapping of chromosomal breakpoints. We tested this method for detection of the t(11;14)(q13;q32) translocation in mantle cell lymphoma. In DNA fiber FISH, a series of fluorochrome-labeled DNA probes covering several hundreds of kilobasepairs is hybridized to linear DNA molecules (or fibers) prepared from frozen tissue or intact cells. By using alternate fluorescent colors, a potential breakpoint region is stained in a color barcode pattern. Breaks in this region will split the barcode in two complementary parts, from which the breakpoint position can be derived. We used a 250-kb barcode covering the BCL-1 locus to detect 11q13 breakpoints in 20 well-characterized mantle cell lymphomas. A t(11;14) was shown by cohybridization of these probes with probes for the Ig heavy chain locus at 14q32. In 18 of 20 mantle cell lymphomas, a breakpoint within the 11q13/BCL-1 barcode was shown by the presence of multiple, complementary translocation products. Fusion of 11q13 and 14q32 sequences on single fibers indicating t(11;14)(q13;q32) was found in all 18 breakpoint-positive mantle cell lymphomas. In one additional case, fusion of an intact 11q13 barcode with 14q32 sequences indicated a breakpoint 100 kb centromeric of the major translocation cluster of BCL-1. Within the 120-kb region of BCL-1, breakpoints were widely scattered. This explains why, so far, a BCL-1 breakpoint had been detected by Southern blot analysis in only 10 of 19 cases. DNA fiber FISH analysis showed a t(11;14) in 95% of mantle cell lymphoma. The results indicate that DNA fiber FISH is a rapid, simple, and equally powerful method for detection of clustered and dispersed translocation breakpoints.

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