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Haematologica. 2019 Aug 8. pii: haematol.2019.223891. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2019.223891. [Epub ahead of print]

An increase in MYC copy number has a progressive negative prognostic impact in patients with diffuse large B-cell and high-grade lymphoma, who may benefit of intensified treatment regimens.

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Department of Hematology, ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia, Italy;
Dept. of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Section of Pathology, University of Brescia, Italy.
Department of Hematology, ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia, Italy.
Department of Hematology, ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia.
Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Section of Pathology, University of Brescia.


MYC translocations, a hallmark of Burkitt lymphoma, occur in 5-15% of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, with a negative prognostic impact. Numerical aberrations of MYC have also been detected in these patients, but their incidence and prognostic role are still controversial. We analyzed the clinical impact of MYC increased copy number on 385 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma screened at diagnosis for MYC, BCL2, and BCL6 rearrangements. We enumerated the number of MYC copies, defining amplified those cases with an uncountable number of extra-copies. The prevalence of MYC translocation, increased copy number and amplification was 8.8%, 15%, and 1%, respectively. Patients with 3 or 4 gene copies, accounting for more than 60% of patients with MYC copy number changes, had a more favorable outcome compared to patients with >4 copies or translocation of MYC, and were not influenced by the type of treatment received as first-line. Stratification according to the number of MYC extra-copies showed a negative correlation between an increasing number of copies and survival. Patients with >7 copies or the amplification of MYC had the poorest prognosis. Patients with >4 copies of MYC showed a similar, trending towards worse prognosis compared to patients with MYC translocation. The survival of patients with >4 copies, translocation or amplification of MYC seemed to be superior if intensive treatments were used. Our study underlines the importance of fluorescence in situ hybridization testing at diagnosis of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma to detect the rather frequent and clinically significant numerical aberrations of MYC.


Aggressive Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma; Fluorescence in situ hybridization; MYC gene aberrations

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