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Lymphomas with concurrent BCL2 and MYC translocations: the critical factors associated with survival

Nathalie A. Johnson, Kerry J. Savage, Olga Ludkovski, Susana Ben-Neriah, Ryan Woods, Christian Steidl, Martin J. S. Dyer, Reiner Siebert, John Kuruvilla, Richard Klasa, Joseph M. Connors, Randy D. Gascoyne and Douglas E. Horsman

Abstract

BCL2 and MYC are oncogenes commonly deregulated in lymphomas. Concurrent BCL2 and MYC translocations (BCL2+/MYC+) were identified in 54 samples by karyotype and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization with the aim of correlating clinical and cytogenetic characteristics to overall survival. BCL2+/MYC+ lymphomas were diagnosed as B-cell lymphoma unclassifiable (BCLU; n = 36) with features intermediate between Burkitt lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL); DLBCL (n = 17), or follicular lymphoma (n = 1). Despite the presence of a t(14;18), 5 cases were BCL2 protein–negative. Nonimmunoglobulin gene/MYC (non-IG/MYC) translocations occurred in 24 of 54 cases (44%) and were highly associated with DLBCL morphology (P < .001). Over a median follow-up of 5.3 years, 6 patients remained in remission and 32 died within 6 months of the MYC+ rearrangement, irrespective of whether MYC+ occurred at diagnosis (31 of 54) or transformation (23 of 54; P = .53). A non-IG/MYC translocation partner, absent BCL2 protein expression and treatment with rituximab-based chemotherapy, were associated with a more favorable outcome, but a low International Prognostic Index score and DLBCL morphology were independent predictors of overall survival. A comprehensive cytogenetic analysis of BCL2 and MYC status on all aggressive lymphomas may identify a group of high-risk patients who may benefit from chemotherapeutic regimens that include rituximab and/or BCL2-targeted therapy.

  • Submitted March 20, 2009.
  • Accepted June 24, 2009.
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