The t(14;18) chromosomal translocation that results in the juxtaposition of the bcl-2 proto-oncogene with the heavy chain JH locus is a common cytogenetic abnormality in human lymphoma. In particular, it is seen in about 85% of follicular lymphoma (FL) and up to one-third of diffuse lymphomas (DL). The chromosome 18 breakpoints have been shown to cluster into two regions. The major breakpoint region (mbr) within the 3' untranslated region of the bcl-2 proto-oncogene accounts for approximately 60% of the cases and the minor cluster region (mcr) 30 kb 3' of bcl-2 accounts for approximately 25% of the breakpoints. Because of variability in the position of the breakpoint, detection of the t(14;18) by Southern blot analysis provides an important clonal marker for the tumor. However, conventional electrophoresis (CE) fails to detect the translocation in 15% to 25% of cases. We have applied pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to the detection of the t(14;18) in a series of lymphoma prospectively analyzed by CE, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and cytogenetic analysis. PFGE readily detected t(14;18) rearrangements as indicated by comigration of bands detected with probes for the mbr region (chromosome 18) and the JH locus (chromosome 14). In a series of 40 patients with FL, this method proved to be the most comprehensive for detection of the translocation compared with standard methods; in fact, in one case only PFGE was able to detect the chromosomal rearrangement. Ten percent of the FL cases were negative by all methods tested. In a separate analysis of matched tissue specimens from cases of tumor progression of FL to diffuse lymphoma, PFGE detected a common t(14;18) rearrangement confirming a clonal origin in seven of seven cases, whereas CE detected a rearrangement in only three of seven cases. Overall, PFGE was able to detect a translocation in 8 of 12 cases that were negative by CE and four of eight negative by cytogenetic analysis. In conclusion, PFGE analysis is more comprehensive than CE, PCR, and cytogenetic analysis for the detection of the t(14;18) breakpoint in tissue biopsies of malignant lymphoma.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991GF44400022
View details for PubMedID 1884022