De novo CD5-positive and Richter's syndrome-associated diffuse large B cell lymphomas are genotypically distinct
Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell
Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse
Diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBLs) represent a heterogeneous collection of aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphomas that can arise either de novo or as a result of transformation from chronic lymphocytic leukemia, small lymphocytic lymphoma, follicular lymphomas, or lymphomas of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue. A small percentage of DLBLs express the CD5 antigen. The majority of these cases have evolved from a pre-existing low grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (Richter's syndrome). However, we identified and characterized nine CD5-positive DLBLs in which the patients did not have a previous history or concomitant evidence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, small lymphocytic lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, or mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue-associated non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, suggesting that they arose de novo. All nine cases expressed CD20 and monotypic immunoglobulin, all eight cases examined expressed CD19, CD22 and CD43, eight of the nine cases expressed HLA-DR, and two of eight cases expressed CD11c. None of the cases expressed CD3, CD10, CD11b, CD21, CD23 or CD30. CD5 expression by these cells was found to be identical to that of CD5-positive B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia by quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of CD5 mRNA. These nine de novo CD5-positive DLBLs exhibited clonal immunoglobulin heavy and light chain gene rearrangements but lacked integration of the Epstein-Barr virus genome and structural alterations of the bcl-1, bcl-2, c-myc, H-ras, K-ras, and N-ras proto-oncogenes and the p53 tumor suppressor gene. However, bcl-6 proto-oncogene rearrangement, which is involved in chromosome band 3q27 aberrations, was found in four cases (44.4%). This is comparable with the frequency of bcl-6 gene rearrangement in CD5-negative DLBL. In contrast, bcl-6 gene rearrangement was absent in six cases of DLBL associated with Richter's syndrome. These findings suggest that de novo CD5-positive DLBLs are genotypically similar to CD5-negative DLBLs and may be pathogenetically distinct from the DLBLs associated with Richter's syndrome.