Karyotypic abnormalities associated with Epstein–Barr virus status in classical Hodgkin lymphoma

Nathan D. Montgomery, Wilborn B. Coward, Steven Johnson, Ji Yuan, Margaret L. Gulley, Stephanie P. Mathews, Kathleen Kaiser-Rogers, Kathleen W. Rao, Warren G. Sanger, Jennifer N. Sanmann, Yuri Fedoriw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL) is morphologically characterized by scattered malignant Hodgkin/Reed–Sternberg (HRS) cells that are far outnumbered by surrounding reactive hematolymphoid cells. Approximately half of all cases of CHL are associated with infection by Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), an oncogenic herpesvirus that expresses a number of proteins thought to contribute to transformation. While a small number of published studies have attempted to identify recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities in CHL, no large case series have explored karyotypic differences between EBV-positive and EBV-negative tumors. Here, we report a two-institution retrospective investigation of cytogenetic features characterizing CHL. In our cohort, cases of EBV-negative CHL were characterized by more complex routine karyotypes than their EBV-positive counterparts (24.6 versus 15.6 independent aberrations per case, P = 0.009). The increased complexity of EBV-negative cases was driven by a number of features suggestive of genomic instability, including a larger number of independent chromosomal breakpoints (P = 0.03) and apparently aneuploid autosomes (P = 0.008). Compelling but nonsignificant trends also suggest a larger modal number and increased marker chromosomes in EBV-negative cases (P = 0.13 and 0.06, respectively). While some of these differences are related to histologic subtype, others appear independent of histology. Finally, a significant subset of EBV-positive tumors has a surprisingly simple karyotype relative to what is normally seen in CHL, an observation suggesting considerable biological and genetic diversity in this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-416
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Genetics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Classical Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Epstein–Barr virus
  • genomic instability
  • karyotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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