Although many recurring chromosome abnormalities have been found in malignant lymphoma (ML) in recent years, their relationship to histology remains largely undefined. We have correlated, in the same tumor mass, chromosome findings with histology, defined by the International Working Formulation for Clinical Usage, in 120 patients. We find differences among histologies in the frequency of normal metaphases and the modal number of the predominant abnormal clone. In addition, most histologies have been significantly (P less than .01) associated with specific chromosome abnormalities. In particular, ML, follicular, predominantly small cleaved cell was associated with t(14;18)(q32;q21); ML, follicular, mixed small cleaved cell and large cell with t(14;18)(q32;q21) and trisomy 8; ML, follicular, predominantly large cell with trisomy 7 and breaks in 17q21-q25; ML, diffuse, mixed small cell and large cell with breaks in 11p; ML, diffuse, large cell with trisomy 21 and breaks in 2q and 9q; ML, large cell, immunoblastic with breaks at 6q21; and ML, small noncleaved cell with t(8;14)(q24;q32). Only the associations with t(14;18) and t(8;14) have been previously reported. The associated chromosome abnormality usually occurred in 30% to 70% of a given histology, raising the possibility that cytogenetics may add important prognostic information in lymphoma as it does in the acute leukemias.

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