Background: The initial genetic event in ∼85% of follicular lymphomas (FL), the most common B-cell lymphoma in North America, is the t(14;18)(q32;q21) resulting in over-expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. The secondary events associated with disease progression are not well understood. Alterations affecting the p arm of chromosome 1 are evident by standard karyotype analysis in ∼20% of FL. We have further examined the relationship between 1p deletion and FL using high resolution genomic analyses.

Methods: The prevalence of 1p alterations was investigated in 139 cases of indolent and transformed FL using whole genome tiling path BAC array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (array CGH). Array-based single nucleotide polymorphism analysis was performed on a subset of cases using Affymetrix 500K SNP arrays.

Results: Array CGH identified a minimum region of deletion spanning ∼0.5MB within 1p36.32 in 51 cases (37%). In 38 cases (27%) this loss was exhibited in the transformed sample but not the pre-transformation sample. The majority of cases displayed heterozygous deletion, while two cases showed homozygous deletion. The mechanisms of loss included simple deletions, unbalanced translocations with various partner chromosomes and eleven cases with an unbalanced t(1;1)(p36;q12). The Affymetrix 500 SNP array analyses showed copy neutral loss of heterozygosity or acquired uniparental disomy (aUPD) in three of ten cases that were negative for loss by aCGH. Contained within the 1p36.32 minimally deleted region are only a few candidate genes including tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily 14 (TNFRS14), which has been implicated in growth inhibition of HT-29 human colon adenocarcinoma cells and induction of Fas-mediated apoptosis in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Conclusions: Our data indicate that loss of heterozygosity at 1p36.32 through deletion or aUPD constitutes the most common secondary cytogenetic event in FL. LOH at 1p36 may represent an important step in the progression of indolent to transformed FL. Further studies have been initiated to investigate other possible gene inactivation events such as methylation and mutation.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.