We have recently shown that an evolutionary conserved gene LAZ3, encoding a zinc finger protein, is disrupted and overexpressed in some B-cell lymphomas (mainly with a large cell component) that show chromosomal rearrangements involving 3q27. Because the breakpoints involved in these rearrangements are focused in a narrow major translocation cluster (MTC) on chromosome 3, we used genomic probes from this region to study the molecular rearrangements of LAZ3 in a large series of patients (217) with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Southern blot analysis showed LAZ3 rearrangement in 43 patients (19.8%). Rearrangement was found in 11 of the 84 patients (13%) with follicular lymphoma but was most frequent in aggressive lymphoma (diffuse mixed, diffuse large cell, and large cell immunoblastic subtypes), in which 31 of the 114 patients (27%) were affected. The highest proportion of LAZ3 alteration was observed in B-cell aggressive lymphoma (26 of 71 cases, 37%). Eleven of the 32 patients with 3q27 chromosomal abnormality had no LAZ3 rearrangement, suggesting the possibility of LAZ3 involvement outside the MTC. On the other hand, 18 of the 39 patients with LAZ3 rearrangement and available cytogenetic results did not have visible chromosomal break at 3q27, suggesting that almost a half of the rearrangements are not detectable by cytogenetic methods. No statistical association could be found between LAZ3 status and initial features of the disease or clinical outcome in either follicular or aggressive lymphomas. We conclude that LAZ3 alteration is a relatively frequent event in B-cell lymphoma, especially in those of aggressive histology. It could be used as a genomic marker of the disease, and further studies are needed to clarify clinical implications of these alterations.

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