The bcl-2 gene translocation is undetectable in Hodgkin's disease by southern blot hybridization and polymerase chain reaction
B-cell associated antigens are frequently expressed by the Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells of lymphocyte predominance (LP) Hodgkin's disease (HD) and are sometimes expressed by those of nodular sclerosis (NS) and mixed cellularity (MC) HD. Clonal immunoglobulin gene rearrangements have been detected in some HD cases as well. These findings suggest that at least some cases of HD may be of B-cell derivation. Rearrangements of the bcl-2 gene, associated with the t(14;18)(q32;q21) are present in more than 75% of follicular and 30% of diffuse lymphomas of B-cell origin, suggesting that this translocation plays an important role in B-cell lymphomagenesis. In this study, we investigated 34 cases of HD (10 LP, 14 NS, and 10 MC) for bcl-2 gene rearrangements to determine if this B-cell lymphoma-associated translocation also plays a role in the pathogenesis of HD. The cases of HD were analyzed by Southern blot hybridization, using DNA probes that detect the major and minor breakpoint cluster regions and a 5'bcl-2 breakpoint region recently cloned and found to be involved in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), using oligonucleotides capable of amplifying and detecting the major breakpoint region (mbr) and minor cluster region (mcr) breakpoint regions in t(14;18). bcl-2 translocations were not detected in any of the 34 cases of HD by Southern blot hybridization or by PCR. This is in spite of the fact that RS cells expressing B-cell-associated antigen CD20 were detectable in 7/8 cases of LP HD and 6/24 cases of NS and MC HD with monoclonal antibody L26. Therefore, these results indicate that the bcl-2 gene translocation does not play an important role in the pathogenesis of HD and did not provide evidence for the B-cell origin of HD.