Differential expression of the oncoproteins c-myc and c-myb in human lymphoproliferative disorders

Eur J Cancer. 1990;26(6):733-7. doi: 10.1016/0277-5379(90)90130-l.


Altered regulation of oncogene expression has been described in a variety of hematopoietic malignancies. In this study we analyzed the protein level of c-myc and c-myb in 15 established cell lines derived from lymphopoietic disorders and in 45 samples from patients with acute or chronic lymphatic leukemias. Oncoproteins were assayed by radioimmuno-precipitation with polyclonal rabbit antibodies. In B-cell derived lines, such as Burkitt lymphoma and plasmocytoma lines, we found high amounts of c-myc and no or low amounts of c-myb. In contrast, all T-cell-derived lines revealed high levels of c-myb. In addition, T-lymphoma cell lines of low malignancy also exhibited high levels of c-myc, while T-cell lines of high malignancy (acute T-lymphoblastic leukemias) exhibited moderate levels of c-myc. Of the 45 patient samples analyzed, only three (one B-prolymphocytic and two acute T-lymphoblastic leukemias) contained detectable amounts of myc or myb protein. Corresponding to the results found in established cell lines, the B-cell sample revealed a high level of c-myc but no c-myb, while the T-cell samples revealed high levels of c-myb and no or low levels of c-myc. We therefore conclude that the predominance of c-myc or c-myb expression in malignant lymphoproliferative disorders may be associated to the B-cell or T-cell lineage, respectively. Further, regarding the T-cell lines, there is a possible correlation between cell maturation and the level of c-myc found together with a consistently elevated c-myb.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / genetics
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / metabolism*
  • Lymphoma / analysis*
  • Lymphoma / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / analysis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myb
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Proto-Oncogenes
  • T-Lymphocytes / analysis


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myb
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases