Burkitt lymphoma and a subset of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas are characterized by chromosomal alterations affecting the MYC oncogene on 8q24. In most cases MYC is found juxtaposed to the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) gene locus. Translocations to the immunoglobulin kappa (IGK) gene locus on 2p11 are observed in around 5-10% of cases. Little data exist on the molecular mechanisms leading to this aberration. The chromosomal breakpoints on chromosome 8 have been found dispersed over a large area 3' of MYC. In order to obtain a better understanding of this chromosomal translocation we developed a long-distance inverse (LDI) PCR method for the identification of chromosomal translocations affecting the IGK locus. We investigated a number of cytogenetically mostly uncharacterized high-grade lymphoma samples and identified a MYC-IGK juxtaposition in seven patients and three t(2;8)-positive cell lines. The chromosomal breakpoints were molecularly characterized and analyzed. The linear distance of the breakpoints on chromosome 8 to MYC ranged from some 100 bp to more than 0.5 MB. The reciprocal translocated allele could be characterized in the majority of cases. This study represents the largest series of t(2;8)-positive cases analyzed so far. The LDI PCR method developed here should also be useful for the analysis of chromosomal translocations affecting the IGK locus in general.
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