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Mod Pathol. 2010 Nov;23(11):1507-17. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2010.139. Epub 2010 Aug 27.

E2A-positive gastric MALT lymphoma has weaker plasmacytoid infiltrates and stronger expression of the memory B-cell-associated miR-223: possible correlation with stage and treatment response.

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


Extranodal marginal-zone lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue of the stomach (gastric MALT lymphoma) is derived from memory B cells of the marginal zone. Normal memory B cells do not express markers of germinal-center B cells, such as E2A (immunoglobulin enhancer-binding factor E12/E47), B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/lymphoma 6 (BCL6), or activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID). E2A is a transcription factor that induces somatic hypermutations and blocks plasma cell differentiation. In 50 stage-I(E)/II(E1) gastric MALT lymphomas, we confirmed that all cases were BCL6(-)/AID(-), but a subset (50%, 25/50) was E2A(+). As E2A(-) and E2A(+) gastric MALT lymphomas had similar numbers of somatic hypermutations without intraclonal variations, which implied an origin from memory B cells, the expression of E2A was best regarded as a marker of aberrant follicular differentiation. Although the status of somatic hypermutation was not affected by E2A, E2A(+) gastric MALT lymphoma showed less plasmacytoid infiltrates and higher expressions of miRNA-223, a microRNA associated with memory B cells. Clinically, E2A(+) gastric MALT lymphomas were more likely to spread to perigastric lymph nodes and were less responsive to Helicobacter eradication therapy than were E2A(-) gastric MALT lymphomas. Taken together, aberrant E2A expression is a diagnostic feature of a subtype of gastric MALT lymphoma with weaker plasmacytoid infiltrates and stronger miR-223 expression. A prospective study would be necessary to verify the association between E2A expression and a poor response to Helicobacter eradication therapy.

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