Little information is available about the role of certain mutations for clonal evolution and the clinical outcome during relapse in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Therefore, we analyzed formalin-fixed-paraffin-embedded tumor samples from first diagnosis, relapsed or refractory disease from 28 patients using next-generation sequencing of the exons of 104 coding genes. Non-synonymous mutations were present in 74 of the 104 genes tested. Primary tumor samples showed a median of 8 non-synonymous mutations (range: 0-24) with the used gene set. Lower numbers of non-synonymous mutations in the primary tumor were associated with a better median OS compared with higher numbers (28 versus 15 months, p=0.031). We observed three patterns of clonal evolution during relapse of disease: large global change, subclonal selection and no or minimal change possibly suggesting preprogrammed resistance. We conclude that targeted re-sequencing is a feasible and informative approach to characterize the molecular pattern of relapse and it creates novel insights into the role of dynamics of individual genes.
Keywords: DLBCL; TP53; clonal evolution; subclonal selection; tumor heterogeneity.