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Blood. 1998 Nov 1;92(9):3018-24.

Somatic Fas mutations in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: association with extranodal disease and autoimmunity.

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Department of Tumor Cell Biology, Institute of Cancer Biology, Danish Cancer Society; the Departments of Pathology and Hematology, Herlev Hospital; and the Departments of Hematology and Pathology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Fas (APO-1/CD95) is a cell-surface receptor involved in cell death signaling. Germline mutations in the Fas gene have been associated with autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome, and somatic Fas mutations have been found in multiple myeloma. We have examined the entire coding region and all splice sites of the Fas gene in 150 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Overall, mutations were identified in 16 of the tumors (11%). Missense mutations within the death domain of the receptor were associated with retention of the wild-type allele, indicating a dominant-negative mechanism, whereas missense mutations outside the death domain were associated with allelic loss. Fas mutations were identified in 3 (60%) MALT-type lymphomas, 9 (21%) diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, 2 (6%) follicle center cell lymphomas, 1 (50%) anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and 1 unusual case of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia with a marked tropism for skin. Among the 16 patients with somatic Fas mutations, 15 showed extranodal disease at presentation, and 6 relapsed in extranodal areas. Ten of 13 evaluable patients showed features suggestive of autoreactive disease. Our data indicate that somatic disruption of Fas may play a role in the pathogenesis of some lymphomas, and suggest a link between Fas mutation, cancer and autoimmunity.

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