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Pathobiology. 1997;65(2):83-90.

Uniform expression of cytotoxic molecules in anaplastic large cell lymphoma of null/T cell phenotype and in cell lines derived from anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Konsultations- und Referenzzentrum für Lymphknoten, Institut für Pathologie, Klinikum Benjamin Franklin, Freie Universität Berlin, Deutschland.


We recently provided ample evidence that anaplastic large cell lymphomas of T/null phenotype (T-/null-ALCL) genotypically represent peripheral T cell lymphomas which in up to 90% have a phenotype of cytotoxic cells with expression of granzyme B protein and perforin transcripts. However, the issue of granzyme B expression in T-/null-ALCL is still controversial due to differing results from another laboratory. To verify our earlier immunohistochemical stainings for granzyme B, we looked for granzyme B transcripts by in situ hybridization (ISH). In addition, we investigated our previously analyzed cases by immunohistology (IH) with another antibody (2G9), which reacts with two molecules known to be expressed in cytotoxic cells: T-cell-restricted intracellular antigen (TIA)-1 and granule membrane protein-17 (GMP-17). We also extended our studies to homogenous tumor cell populations provided by ALCL-derived cell lines. As evidenced by ISH, transcripts for perforin, TIA-1 and granzyme B were found in all ALCL-derived cell lines. Similarly, proteins of TIA-1/GMP-17, granzyme B and perforin were expressed in all of these lines as shown by IH. In biopsy specimens, TIA-1/GMP-17 were detected by IH in 14/16 cases of T-/null-ALCL, and granzyme B transcripts were found in 13/13 T-/null-ALCL cases, but not in 6 B-ALCL cases. The detection of granzyme B transcripts yielded results largely identical to those of IH for granzyme B protein, thus confirming our earlier data and suggesting that the regulation of the expression of this molecule largely occurs at the transcriptional level. Our data further confirm the almost uniform expression of cytotoxic molecules in both primary ALCL cases and ALCL-derived cell lines and therefore suggest that the derivation from cytotoxic T cells may be the unifying characteristic for T-/null-ALCL.

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