Expression of histone deacetylases in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and its clinical significance

Int J Med Sci. 2014 Jul 17;11(10):994-1000. doi: 10.7150/ijms.8522. eCollection 2014.


Background: Histone deacetylase inhibitors are a new class of drugs used in treatment of malignant tumors. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common type of B-cell lymphoma, and it accounts for more than 40% of all B-cell lymphomas. In this study, we aimed to determine the expression patterns of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in DLBCL, to examine whether HDAC expression patterns differ among cases, and to assess whether these findings have clinical significance.

Materials and methods: We selected 91 cases of DLBCL diagnosed at St. Vincent Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, from 2001-2012. We performed a pathology slide review and collected clinical data including age, sex, tumor site, survival time, and mortality. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed using primary antibodies for HDACs, including HDAC1 and 2 of class I, HDAC4 and 5 of class IIa, and HDAC6 of class IIb. Expression site was determined to be nuclear, cytoplasmic, or both. Staining intensities were graded as low and high. We assessed correlations between HDAC expression levels and clinical data and survival analysis.

Results: Of the 91 cases examined, 46 (50.5%) were men and 45 (49.5%) were women. Most of the patients were elderly, and 74 (81.3%) cases were older than 46 y. Forty-six (50.5%) cases showed lymph node involvement, and 45 (49.5%) cases showed lymphoma at extranodal sites. In nodal lymphoma, staining was strongly positive for HDAC2, whereas staining was weak or negative for HDAC4; however, there was no significant correlation with survival. But nodal lymphoma cases with high nuclear expression of HDAC2 and nodal lymphoma cases with high nuclear expression of HDAC2 and low nuclear expression of HDAC4 showed significantly shorter survival times compared with other cases.

Conclusions: High nuclear expression of HDAC2 may play an important role in survival of DLBCL patients, especially in those with nodal lymphoma, which is associated with a shorter survival time. Our results may have important implications for treatment of DLBCL by epigenetic regulation.

Keywords: Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; Epigenetic; Histone deacetylase; Nodal lymphoma; Survival.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics
  • Female
  • Histone Deacetylase 2 / genetics
  • Histone Deacetylase 2 / metabolism
  • Histone Deacetylases / genetics
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / enzymology*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / genetics
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • HDAC2 protein, human
  • Histone Deacetylase 2
  • Histone Deacetylases