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Blood. 2003 Oct 1;102(7):2623-31. Epub 2003 Jun 19.

CD94 transcripts imply a better prognosis in nasal-type extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, National Taiwan University Hospital, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.


Transcription of natural killer (NK) cell antigen receptors (NKRs), such as CD94, NKG2, and killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs), is developmentally regulated and clonally distributed. We have shown a restricted KIR repertoire (rKIR-R) without monoclonal T-cell receptor rearrangement (mTCR-R) supports a NK lineage in nasal-type extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma (NTENL) but does not correlate with clinical outcomes. Developing NK cells express first CD94, then NKG2A, NKG2E, and finally NKG2C. This sequence suggests an immature CD94- and a mature CD94+ subtype of NTENL. Using a rKIR-R without a mTCR-R as a criterion in 25 cases of NTENL, we confirmed a true NK lineage in 19 cases, including 10 CD94+ and 9 CD94- patients by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Eight of the 10 CD94+ patients but only 2 of the 9 CD94- patients survived beyond 1 year (median survival, 60 months versus 10 months by Meier-Kaplan survival analysis, P =.026 by Cox F test). The remaining 6 patients had a rKIR-R plus a mTCR-R, suggesting mixed NK/T differentiation. They were CD94- by RT-PCR, found predominantly in young women, and had a median survival of 35 months. Thus, on the basis of the transcripts of NKRs, a division of NTENLs into CD94+, CD94-, and mixed NK/T types reflects a true biologic divergence with different clinical behaviors.

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