Genetic landscape of hepatitis B virus-associated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Blood. 2018 Jun 14;131(24):2670-2681. doi: 10.1182/blood-2017-11-817601. Epub 2018 Mar 15.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is endemic in some parts of Asia, Africa, and South America and remains to be a significant public health problem in these areas. It is known as a leading risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, but epidemiological studies have also shown that the infection may increase the incidence of several types of B-cell lymphoma. Here, by characterizing altogether 275 Chinese diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients, we showed that patients with concomitant HBV infection (surface antigen positive [HBsAg+]) are characterized by a younger age, a more advanced disease stage at diagnosis, and reduced overall survival. Furthermore, by whole-genome/exome sequencing of 96 tumors and the respective peripheral blood samples and targeted sequencing of 179 tumors from these patients, we observed an enhanced rate of mutagenesis and a distinct set of mutation targets in HBsAg+ DLBCL genomes, which could be partially explained by the activities of APOBEC and activation-induced cytidine deaminase. By transcriptome analysis, we further showed that the HBV-associated gene expression signature is contributed by the enrichment of genes regulated by BCL6, FOXO1, and ZFP36L1. Finally, by analysis of immunoglobulin heavy chain gene sequences, we showed that an antigen-independent mechanism, rather than a chronic antigenic simulation model, is favored in HBV-related lymphomagenesis. Taken together, we present the first comprehensive genomic and transcriptomic study that suggests a link between HBV infection and B-cell malignancy. The genetic alterations identified in this study may also provide opportunities for development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Hepatitis B / complications*
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B / genetics
  • Hepatitis B / virology
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B virus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / virology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Transcriptome*
  • Tumor Protein p73 / genetics


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • TP73 protein, human
  • Tumor Protein p73