This study of 52 European patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD) expressing the latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) oncogene within diagnostic Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells was performed to detect LMP1 isolates carrying deletions and to characterize them at a molecular and histologic level. Deletions were identified in 5 cases, clustered near the 3′ end of the LMP1 gene, and histologically associated with numerous HRS cells. DNA sequencing showed homology with the deletions seen in the Asian nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) isolates CAO and 1510. Our findings suggest that partial deletions of the LMP1 oncogene, associated with aggressive behavior in NPC CAO and NPC 1510, occur at a particular localization and confer a proliferative phenotype to lymphoid cells in HD.

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