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N Engl J Med. 1988 Jun 23;318(25):1638-44.

Expression in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the bcl-2 protein associated with the t(14;18) chromosomal translocation.

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Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305.


For many non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, the bcl-2 gene has been implicated as a likely proto-oncogene, since it is consistently located at or near the breakpoint sites of t(14;18) chromosomal translocations. To define the role of the protein product of the bcl-2 gene in lymphoid cancers, we used anti-bcl-2 antibodies to perform immunohistochemical studies of frozen sections of 136 tissue specimens affected by lymphoma or non-neoplastic lymphoid disorders. Immunoreactive bcl-2 protein was observed in the neoplastic cells in almost all the follicular lymphomas, whereas no bcl-2 protein was detected in follicles affected by non-neoplastic processes or in normal lymphoid tissue. Every tumor with molecular-genetic evidence of t(14;18) translocation expressed detectable levels of bcl-2 protein, regardless of whether the breakpoint was located in or at a distance from the bcl-2 gene. These data show consistent expression of a proto-oncogenic protein in a large proportion of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and provide further support of a role for bcl-2 in the pathogenesis of all lymphomas with the t(14;18) karyotypic abnormality. Increased expression of bcl-2 after t(14;18) translocations may be a specific marker for B-cell cancers, and demonstration of the protein with use of anti-bcl-2 antibodies could be useful in the diagnosis of many non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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