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Leuk Lymphoma. 2001 Nov-Dec;42(6):1343-50.

A polymorphism in the BCL-6 gene is associated with follicle center lymphoma.

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Department of Medicine, Stanford University Medical Center, CA 94305-5151, USA.


Follicle center lymphoma (FCL) accounts for approximately 40% of all non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). The genetic-environmental interactions involved in the etiology and pathogenesis of this disease are unknown. In our previous study a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (397C) in the regulatory untranslated first intron region of the BCL-6 gene was found in four of the eight FCL patients but in none of the 10 healthy controls. To further evaluate the potential association between the 397C allele of the BCL-6 gene and FCL, we performed a case-control study. Genomic DNA was isolated from 85 FCL patients, from 98 control cases without a previous history of malignancy, treated at Stanford University Medical Center for non-malignant disorders and from 90 samples from the DNA Polymorphism Discovery Resource. The 397G and the 397C polymorphic alleles were identified by a PCR-RFLP method. To evaluate the possible effect of this polymorphism on gene expression, BCL-6 mRNA levels in nine FCL tumors with the 397G-G genotype and in nine FCL tumors with the 397G-C genotype were measured by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. The 397C polymorphic allele was found in 32 FCL cases (37.6%), in 20 controls (20.4%) and in 17 (18.9%) samples from the DNA Polymorphism Discovery Resource. The prevalence of the 397G-C and 397C-C genotypes was significantly higher in FCL cases than in control group (p = 0.01). No difference in BCL-6 gene expression was observed between FCL cases with 397G-G and 397G-C genotypes. The present study demonstrates a possible association between the 397C allele of the BCL-6 proto-oncogene and FCL. The similar levels of BCL-6 mRNA expression in 397G-G and in 397G-C FCL cases suggests that any possible oncogenic effect of the polymorphic allele would not simply be related to a direct effect on BCL-6 gene expression and suggests the existence of other FCL susceptibility genes that are in linkage disequilibrium with the 397C allele of the BCL-6 gene.

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