We describe the chromosomal abnormalities found in 104 previously untreated patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and the correlations of these abnormalities with disease characteristics. The cytogenetic method used was a 24- to 48-hour culture, followed by G- banding. Several significant associations were discovered. A trisomy 3 was correlated with high-grade NHL. In the patients with an immunoblastic NHL, an abnormal chromosome no. 3 or 6 was found significantly more frequently. As previously described, a t(14;18) was significantly correlated with a follicular growth pattern. Abnormalities on chromosome no. 17 were correlated with a diffuse histology and a shorter survival. A shorter survival was also correlated with a +5, +6, +18, all abnormalities on chromosome no. 5, or involvement of breakpoint 14q11–12. In a multivariate analysis, these chromosomal abnormalities appeared to be independent prognostic factors and correlated with survival more strongly than any traditional prognostic variable. Patients with a t(11;14)(q13;q32) had an elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Skin infiltration was correlated with abnormalities on 2p. Abnormalities involving breakpoints 6q11–16 were correlated with B symptoms. Patients with abnormalities involving breakpoints 3q21–25 and 13q21–24 had more frequent bulky disease. The correlations of certain clinical findings with specific chromosomal abnormalities might help unveil the pathogenetic mechanisms of NHL and tailor treatment regimens.

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