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Am J Clin Pathol. 1998 Jan;109(1):39-44.

Immunohistochemical staining for DNA topoisomerase IIa in Hodgkin's disease.

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Department of Pathology, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City 84132, USA.


The topoisomerase II alpha (topo II alpha) enzyme is the target for several chemotherapeutic agents, including etoposide, teniposide, mitoxantrone, and doxorubicin (topo II poisons). The enzyme also is a marker of cell proliferation. Most cases of Hodgkin's disease (HD) are responsive to combination chemotherapy regimes that include topo II poisons such as doxorubicin. Immunoperoxidase methods for detection of the topo II alpha isoenzyme are now available for use in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues, which may provide information about the proliferative capacity and possible sensitivity of tumors to drugs that target topo II. We used a specific antibody to analyze subsets of HD for topo II alpha staining patterns. Formalin-fixed blocks from 49 cases of HD, including 20 nodular sclerosis (NS), 14 mixed-cellularity (MC), and 15 lymphocyte-predominant (LP) subtypes, were analyzed by dual staining for topo II in combination with monoclonal antibodies against Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells consisting of CD15 for the NS and MC subtypes and CD20 for LP lymphocytic and histiocytic (L & H) cells. The number of morphologically appropriate cells coexpressing the RS or L & H marker and topo II alpha was quantitated. Positive nuclear staining for topo II alpha in RS or L & H cells was seen in 100% of cases, irrespective of subtype. Coexpression of CD15 and topo II alpha was seen in 58.4% of the RS cells or mononuclear variants in NSHD cases and 68.4% in MCHD cases. No significant difference in the percentage of neoplastic cells expressing topo II alpha was found between NS and MC subtypes. Cases of LPHD showed coexpression of CD20 and topo II alpha in 84.4% of the L & H cells, a significant increase over the level of tumor cell coexpression seen in NSHD and MCHD (P < .001). Only one case was found to have a low (< 25% of tumor cell coexpression) level of topo II alpha expression. Immunohistochemical detection of a high level of topo II alpha expression in HD, irrespective of subtype, suggests a molecular explanation for the excellent response of most HD to standard combination chemotherapy, which can include topo II poisons. The LP subtype has a higher expression of topo II alpha in the neoplastic cell population than do NS or MC subtypes, perhaps indicating increased sensitivity of these tumors to topo II poisons. It may be possible to identify subsets of HD that are more or less sensitive to conventional chemotherapeutic regimes, which would help in the selection of appropriate treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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