Follicular lymphoma (FL) is characterized by a relatively indolent clinical course, but the disease often transforms into a more aggressive large cell lymphoma with a rapidly progressive clinical course. In the present study, we analyzed 41 cases of FL known to have subsequently transformed to aggressive lymphoma and an additional 64 FL samples from patients not subsequently transformed. We studied BCL6 gene rearrangement by the methodology of long-distance inverse polymerase chain reaction (LDI-PCR). Of the 41 cases known to transform, 16 (39.0%) harbored BCL6 translocation or deletion at the time of FL diagnosis. Among 64 cases not known to transform, BCL6 translocation was detected in 9 (14.1%). The prevalence of BCL6 translocation in the group known to transform was significantly higher (P =.0048). Among the transformation cases, the partners of the BCL6 translocation were identified in 13 cases and included IGH, CIITA, U50HG, MBNL, GRHPR, LRMP, EIF4A2, RhoH/TTF, and LOC92656 (similar to NAPA), whereas in the control group the BCL6 partners were IGH, CIITA, SIAT1, and MBNL. In 13 cases paired specimens before and after transformation were available. Among these paired specimens, a loss (3 cases) or a gain (1 case) of BCL6 translocation was observed after the transformation. Analysis of clonality showed that all of these cases represented the evolution of a subclone of the original tumor population. Our study demonstrated that BCL6 translocation is not necessary for transformation but that BCL6 translocation in FL may constitute a subgroup with a higher risk to transform into aggressive lymphoma.
View details for Web of Science ID 000184651600048
View details for PubMedID 12738680