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Cancer Sci. 2017 May;108(5):1071-1079. doi: 10.1111/cas.13213. Epub 2017 Apr 24.

Frequent downregulation of BTB and CNC homology 2 expression in Epstein-Barr virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

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Department of Pathology, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan.
Department of Cancer Cell Biology, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Toyama University, Toyama, Japan.
Department of Biochemistry, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.
Department of Pediatrics, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine, Hirosaki, Japan.


Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common B-cell lymphoma subtype, and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive subtype of DLBCL is known to show a more aggressive clinical behavior than the EBV-negative one. BTB and CNC homology 2 (BACH2) has been highlighted as a tumor suppressor in hematopoietic malignancies; however, the role of BACH2 in EBV-positive DLBCL is unclear. In the present study, BACH2 expression and its significance were studied in 23 EBV-positive and 43 EBV-negative patient samples. Immunohistochemistry revealed BACH2 downregulation in EBV-positive cases (P < 0.0001), although biallelic deletion of BACH2 was not detected by FISH. Next, we analyzed the contribution of BACH2 negativity to aggressiveness in EBV-positive B-cell lymphomas using FL-18 (EBV-negative) and FL-18-EB cells (FL-18 sister cell line, EBV-positive). In BACH2-transfected FL-18-EB cells, downregulation of phosphorylated transforming growth factor-β-activated kinase 1 (pTAK1) and suppression in p65 nuclear fractions were observed by Western blot analysis contrary to non-transfected FL-18-EB cells. In patient samples, pTAK1 expression and significant nuclear p65, p50, and p52 localization were detected immunohistochemically in BACH2-negative DLBCL (P < 0.0001, P = 0.006, and P = 0.001, respectively), suggesting that BACH2 downregulation contributes to constitutive activation of the nuclear factor-κB pathway through TAK1 phosphorylation in BACH2-negative DLBCL (most EBV-positive cases). Although further molecular and pathological studies are warranted to clarify the detailed mechanisms, downregulation of BACH2 may contribute to constitutive activation of the nuclear factor-κB pathway through TAK1 activation.


BACH2; Epstein-Barr virus; NFκB; TAK1; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

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