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Leuk Lymphoma. 2003;44 Suppl 3:S41-7.

Gene expression profiling of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

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Metabolism Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Building 10, 4N114, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Initial gene expression profiling studies of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) revealed that this single diagnosis actually encompasses two distinct diseases that differ in the expression of hundreds of genes. One subtype, germinal center B-cell-like (GCB) DLBCL, strongly resembles normal germinal center B-cells and has a good prognosis following chemotherapy, whereas activated B-cell-like (ABC) DLBCL resembles mitogenically activated blood B cells and has a poor outcome. An expanded analysis of 274 DLBCL cases confirmed the existence of the GCB and ABC subgroups, but demonstrated that additional subgroups exist. Furthermore, two recurrent oncogenic events in DLBCL, t(14;18) and amplification of the c-rel locus on chromosome 2p, were only observed in GCB DLBCL, whereas constitutive activation of NF-kappaB was seen in ABC DLBCL, showing that the gene expression subgroups represent pathogenetically distinct diseases. Gene expression profiling has also been used to identify individual genes that predict overall survival in DLBCL, the majority coming from gene expression signatures that reflect the cell of origin, proliferation rate, and host immune response to the tumor. A multivariate model including 17 genes representing these biological features divided patients with DLBCL into quartiles with strikingly distinct 5-year survival rates, ranging from 73% to 15%. The use of gene expression profiling should eventually lead to an integration of molecular diagnosis and consequent selection of the most appropriate treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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