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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2011 Mar;135(3):365-71. doi: 10.1043/2009-0759-OA.1.

Expression and phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E binding protein 1 in B-cell lymphomas and reactive lymphoid tissues.

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  • 1Hematology-Oncology Section, Departments of Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.



Cap-mediated messenger RNA translation controlled by the eukaryotic initiation factor 4F (eIF-4F) complex plays a key role in human cancer. eIF-4F activity is controlled by a repressor binding protein (4E-BP1), which promotes translation when phosphorylated.


To examine the level of expression and phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 in various subtypes of B-cell lymphoma and reactive lymphoid tissues.


Archival formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded B-cell lymphoma samples and reactive lymphoid tissues were immunostained and examined for expression of 4E-BP1 and phosphorylated 4E-BP1. Expression of components of the eIF-4F complex and unphosphorylated and phosphorylated 4E-BP1 was confirmed using Western immunoblotting on lysates of frozen lymphoma samples and reactive tissues.


Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated weak to undetectable 4E-BP1 staining within benign, reactive germinal centers (N = 10). In contrast, 4E-BP1 was consistently expressed (moderate to strong staining) in 98% of various subtypes of mature B-cell lymphoma (N = 50). 4E-BP1 expression was also demonstrable in all 4 lymph nodes with in situ or partial involvement by follicular lymphoma and in all 12 cases of BCL2-negative lymphoma. The level of phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 in lymphomas, evaluated by immunohistochemistry, was heterogeneous.


The immunohistochemical expression pattern of 4E-BP1 exhibits regional and cellular specificity in reactive lymphoid tissues and may offer a diagnostic tool for distinguishing reactive follicles from neoplastic B-cell proliferations.

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