Site-specific expression of polycomb-group genes encoding the HPC-HPH/PRC1 complex in clinically defined primary nodal and cutaneous large B-cell lymphomas.
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Polycomb-group (PcG) genes preserve cell identity by gene silencing, and contribute to regulation of lymphopoiesis and malignant transformation. We show that primary nodal large B-cell lymphomas (LBCLs), and secondary cutaneous deposits from such lymphomas, abnormally express the BMI-1, RING1, and HPH1 PcG genes in cycling neoplastic cells. By contrast, tumor cells in primary cutaneous LBCLs lacked BMI-1 expression, whereas RING1 was variably detected. Lack of BMI-1 expression was characteristic for primary cutaneous LBCLs, because other primary extranodal LBCLs originating from brain, testes, and stomach were BMI-1-positive. Expression of HPH1 was rarely detected in primary cutaneous LBCLs of the head or trunk and abundant in primary cutaneous LBCLs of the legs, which fits well with its earlier recognition as a distinct clinical pathological entity with different clinical behavior. We conclude that clinically defined subclasses of primary LBCLs display site-specific abnormal expression patterns of PcG genes of the HPC-HPH/PRC1 PcG complex. Some of these patterns (such as the expression profile of BMI-1) may be diagnostically relevant. We propose that distinct expression profiles of PcG genes results in abnormal formation of HPC-HPH/PRC1 PcG complexes, and that this contributes to lymphomagenesis and different clinical behavior of clinically defined LBCLs.