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Ann Oncol. 1996;7 Suppl 4:41-3.

Single cell analysis of H/RS cells.

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  • 1University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, USA.


The nature of the Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg (H/RS) cells in Hodgkin's disease (HD) is still unclear. We have studied isolated H/RS cells from four cases of lymphocytic predominance (LP) HD and six cases of nodular sclerosis (NS) HD and assayed the cells for immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) gene rearrangement by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The H/RS cells in all four cases of LPHD had rearranged their IgH gene in a polyclonal pattern. The H/RS cells of three cases of NSHD where at least a fraction of the cells expressed the B-cell marker CD20 had also rearranged their IgH gene. In two of the cases, the rearrangements were totally unrelated while in one case, two out of six rearrangements were identical in sequence indicating the presence of a clonal subpopulation amid a polyclonal background. Clonality was assessed independently in one NSHD case by determining the pattern of X-chromosome inactivation. This technique also failed to show that the H/RS cells were monoclonal. Our studies suggest that in both LPHD and NSHD, the H/RS cells may be a polyclonal proliferation at presentation and clonal populations may emerge from this polyclonal background. There is also some evidence of a correlation between the immunophenotype and the genotype of the H/RS cells. Single cell assays show great potential in elucidating the cell lineage and clonality of H/RS cells, as well as their in vivo evolution during the disease process.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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