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Abstract

Among extranodal non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, primary cutaneous lymphomas (CLs) represent a consistent group of B- and T-cell malignancies. We investigated the arrangement of Ig and T-cell receptor (TCR) genes, together with the involvement of several oncogenes and the tumor-suppressor gene p53, in a panel of primary cutaneous B- and T-cell lymphomas (CBCLs and CTCLs). Southern blot analysis was performed to detect rearrangements of the Ig, c-myc, bcl-1, bcl-2, bcl-3, bcl-6, and the NFKB2/lyt-10 genes in 52 cases of CBCLs and of the TCR, bcl-3, and NFKB2/lyt-10 genes in 38 cases of CTCLs. tal-1 gene deletions were analyzed in CTCLs by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). p53 gene mutations were assayed using PCR, single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, and direct DNA sequencing in CBCL and CTCL cases. Clonal rearrangements of Ig genes or oncogenes were found in 25 of the 52 CBCLs. In particular, we detected rearrangements of the bcl-1 locus (2 cases), the bcl-2 gene (2 cases), the NFKB2/lyt-10 gene (2 cases), and the bcl-6 gene (1 case); interestingly, 4 of these cases showed a germline arrangement of the Ig genes. Clonal rearrangements of TCR genes were detected in 37 of the 38 CTCLs. Rearrangements of the NFKB2/lyt-10 gene were present in 2 cases and tal-1 gene deletions in 3 CTCL cases; p53 gene mutations were detected in 1 CTCL case. Overall, our data indicate that (1) clonal rearrangement of Ig genes is frequently undetectable by means of Southern blot in CBCLs (60%); (2) genetic lesions are involved in a limited but significant fraction of primary CLs showing a molecular marker of clonality (13/62; 20%); and (3) rearrangements of the bcl-1, bcl-2, or bcl-6 loci, associated with specific subsets of nodal lymphoid neoplasias, are rarely observed in CBCLs. Moreover, our results suggest that tal-1 gene deletions may play a pathogenetic role in non-acute T-cell malignancies and that, in the context of lymphoid malignancies, CLs may represent a favorable target for the possible oncogenic potential of the NFKB2/lyt-10 gene.