Gene expression profiling uncovers molecular classifiers for the recognition of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma within peripheral T-cell neoplasms

J Clin Oncol. 2010 Mar 20;28(9):1583-90. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.20.9759. Epub 2010 Feb 16.


Purpose: To unravel the regulatory network underlying nucleophosmin-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (NPM-ALK) -mediated lymphomagenesis of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) and to discover diagnostic genomic classifiers for the recognition of patients with ALK-positive and ALK-negative ALCL among T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (T-NHL).

Patients and methods: The transcriptome of NPM-ALK-positive ALCL cell lines was characterized by silencing the expression of ALK or STAT3, a major effector of ALK oncogenic activity. Gene expression profiling (GEP) was performed in a series of systemic primary T-NHL (n = 70), including a set of ALK-positive and ALK-negative ALCL (n = 36). Genomic classifiers for ALK-positive and ALK-negative ALCL were generated by prediction analyses and validated by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and/or immunohistochemistry.

Results: In ALCL cell lines, two thirds of ALK-regulated genes were concordantly dependent on STAT3 expression. GEP of systemic primary T-NHL significantly clustered ALK-positive ALCL samples in a separate subgroup, underscoring the relevance of in vitro ALK/STAT3 signatures. A set of genomic classifiers for ALK-positive ALCL and for ALCL were identified by prediction analyses. These gene clusters were instrumental for the distinction of ALK-negative ALCL from peripheral T-cell lymphomas not otherwise specified (PTCLs-NOS) and angioimmunoblastic lymphomas.

Conclusion: We proved that experimentally controlled GEP in ALCL cell lines represents a powerful tool to identify meaningful signaling networks for the recognition of systemic primary T-NHL. The identification of a molecular signature specific for ALCL suggests that these T-NHLs may represent a unique entity discernible from other PTCLs, and that a restricted number of genes can be instrumental for clinical stratification and, possibly, therapy of T-NHL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Peripheral / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Signal Transduction


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • nucleophosmin
  • ALK protein, human
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases