Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's disease associated with large- cell lymphoma: Analysis of Ig gene rearrangements by V-J polymerase chain reaction

Timothy C. Greiner, Randy D. Gascoyne, Michelle E. Anderson, Douglas W. Kingma, Sheryle A. Adomat, Jonathan Said, Elaine S. Jaffe

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66 Scopus citations


The clonality of nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's disease (NLPHD) and the relationship to composite or sequential large-cell lymphomas (LCLs) is poorly understood. Clonal Ig heavy-chain gene rearrangements (IgHGR) have infrequently been observed in NLPHD by Southern hybridization. The goals of this study were (1) to determine if IgHGR could be identified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques in the LCL associated with NLPHD; (2) to determine if the IgHGR identified in the LCL could also be found in the associated NLPHD; and (3) to determine if Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) played a role a role in histologic progression to LCL. Using consensus primers to conserved regions in the IgH variable (V) and joining (J) region genes, we analyzed formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections from the biopsies of 25 patients referred to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) registry for NLPHD and LCL using both single-step and seminested V-J PCR. The histologically aggressive component was further subclassified as frank LCL or as L and H- cell-rich, but not fulfilling criteria for LCL. Matched samples representing both NLPHD and aggressive components were available in 13 cases. In 12 cases, only one component was available (aggressive, n = 8; NLPHD, n = 4). In addition, we also amplified, with 32P labeling, 12 cases of NLPHD without associated LCL. Two clonal IgHGR were identified in 29 cases (7%) of typical NLPHD, both of which were associated with LCL containing a similar sized band by PCR. The clonal identity of the bands in the NLPHD and associated LCL was confirmed by sequencing the products in these two cases. Eight of 10 cases (80%) of LCL associated with NLPHD contained a clonal band by this technique. By contrast, none of the cases classified as L and H-cell-rich contained an IgHGR. The single-step and seminested PCR methods produced identical results. All clonal LCLs were studied for EBV sequences by in situ hybridization using the EBER1 probe, and were negative. We conclude that the LCLs associated with NLPHD are clonal B-cell malignancies. However, by these methods, the same clone can be identified in only a minority of cases of NLPHD and LCL. EBV does not appear to play a role in histologic progression. Moreover, our results suggest that many cases suspected of being LCL may actually represent NLPHD with increased numbers of L and H cells. In histologically equivocal cases, the diagnosis of LCL should be reserved for those cases in which a clonal B-cell neoplasm can be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-666
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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