Comparative genomic hybridization analysis of natural killer cell lymphoma/leukemia. Recognition of consistent patterns of genetic alterations

Am J Pathol. 1999 Nov;155(5):1419-25. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)65454-5.


Putative natural killer (NK) cell lymphoma/leukemia is a rare group of recently characterized hematolymphoid malignancies. They are highly aggressive and frequently present in extranodal sites, including the nasal area and the upper aerodigestive system, and nonnasal areas such as the skin and the gastrointestinal tract. According to clinicopathological features, they can be classified into nasal NK cell lymphoma, nasal-type NK cell lymphoma occurring in nonnasal areas, and NK cell lymphoma/leukemia. Genetic alterations in NK cell lymphoma/leukemia are not well defined. In this study, we have performed comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) on DNA extracted from fresh or frozen tissues of 10 patients with NK cell lymphoma/leukemia. They comprised four nasal NK cell lymphomas, one nasal-type NK cell lymphoma, and five NK cell lymphomas/leukemias. CGH showed frequent deletions at 6q16-q27 (four cases), 13q14-q34 (three cases), 11q22-q25 (two cases), 17p13 (two cases), and loss of the whole chromosome X (two cases). DNA amplification was observed in a majority of the chromosomes. Five cases showed DNA gains at region 1p32-pter. Frequent DNA gains were also found in chromosomes 6p, 11q, 12q, 17q, 19p, 20q, and Xp (three cases each). Interestingly, DNA gains were more frequent in nasal/nasal-type NK cell lymphomas than NK cell lymphoma/leukemia. These genetic alterations correlated well with karyotypic features found in some of the cases. The frequent DNA losses at 6q and 13q suggest that the presence of tumor suppressor genes at these regions is important in NK cell transformation. In addition to establishing novel patterns of genomic imbalances in these rare NK cell malignancies, which may be targets for future molecular analysis, this study also provides important information on genetic alterations in NK cell lymphomas that may be useful in defining their positions in current lymphoma classification schemes, which are increasingly focusing on phenotypic and genotypic correlations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Female
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Karyotyping
  • Killer Cells, Natural / pathology*
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / genetics*
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / pathology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization