Differential expression patterns of c-REL protein in classic and nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma.
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-rel
Classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) is characterized by numerical gains of the short arm of chromosome 2. The high frequency of 2p overrepresentation including REL, particularly in the nodular sclerosis subtype suggests that constitutive activation of nuclear factor kappaB/REL is a hallmark of Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells. The aim of this study was to investigate c-Rel protein expression patterns in cHL and nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) cases by immunohistochemical analysis. A total of 79 cases of HL were analyzed, which included 59 cases of cHL (49 nodular sclerosis; 8 mixed cellularity; 2 lymphocyte-rich) and 20 cases of NLPHL. Positive staining was defined in this study as a reaction seen in the nuclei or nuclei and cytoplasm of RS or lymphocytic and histiocytic (L&H) cells in cHL and NLPHL cases, respectively. The percent positivity of c-REL staining of RS cells in cHL was seen in 51 of 59 cases (86.4%). No significant difference in c-REL expression was seen between nodular sclerosis (42 of 49, 85.7%) and mixed cellularity subtypes (7 of 8 cases, 87.5%; P = 1). In comparison, positive c-REL protein expression in L&H cells was seen in 5 of 20 NLPHL cases (25.0%). Therefore, significantly higher positivity of RS cells in cHL was seen compared with positivity of L&H cells in NLPHL; 86.4% vs. 25.0%; P = 0). Expression of Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein was seen in 6 of 30 cases (19.0%; 25 cHL, 5 NLPHL) and EBER1 in 5 of 27 cases (18.5%; 24 cHL, 3 NLPHL). The presence of Epstein-Barr virus did not correlate with c-REL protein expression (P = 1). Our results demonstrate that there is differential c-REL protein expression in cHL in comparison with NLPHL and suggest that c-REL may play a role in the pathogenesis of classic Hodgkin lymphoma.