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J Pathol. 2004 Aug;203(4):940-5.

Homogeneous immunophenotype and paucity of secondary genomic aberrations are distinctive features of endemic but not of sporadic Burkitt's lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with MYC rearrangement.

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Institut für Pathologie des Universitätsklinikums Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, D-89081 Ulm, Germany.


The present study has compared immunohistological marker expression profiles and genomic imbalances in seven African endemic Burkitt's lymphomas (eBLs) with those in ten European B-cell lymphomas with MYC rearrangement as shown by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. eBLs showed a typical histomorphology and a homogeneous immuno-profile: CD10+, CD38+, CD77+, bcl-2-, and IgM+. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA was present in all cases. On comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), only three out of six eBLs showed imbalances (median number of imbalances = 2), with gains on chromosome 17 in two eBLs. The European lymphomas were all highly proliferating, with a Ki-67 index of at least 90%, and included seven with morphology typical of sporadic Burkitt's lymphoma (sBL) and three immunoblastic diffuse large B-cell lymphomas with MYC rearrangement (MYCre+DLBCL). In contrast to eBL, the immuno-profiles of the European lymphomas were less homogeneous and inconsistent for CD10, CD38, CD77, IgM and bcl-2 expression. EBV DNA was not detected. In five of seven sBLs, CGH showed a higher number of imbalances (median = 6), with recurrent gains on chromosome 1q (3/7) and losses on 12q and 17p (2/7), whereas all three MYCre+DLBCLs had fewer imbalances (median = 4), with gains on 17q in two of three lymphomas. It is concluded that eBL has a homogeneous immunohistology and few secondary genomic aberrations, whereas MYC-rearranged and highly proliferating European B-cell lymphomas are a heterogeneous group that includes sBL and a subgroup of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas.

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