Uniform detection of immunoglobulin-gene rearrangement in benign lymphoepithelial lesions

N Engl J Med. 1987 Apr 30;316(18):1118-21. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198704303161803.


The term "benign lymphoepithelial lesion" is used to describe the salivary-gland lymphocytic infiltration and epithelial changes typically found in association with Sjögren's syndrome. We used Southern blot hybridization techniques to examine the immunoglobulin genes in salivary-gland tissue derived from eight patients with benign lymphoepithelial lesions. Three of these patients had intrasalivary non-Hodgkin's lymphoma complicating the lesions, whereas the lesions in the remaining five were all histologically benign. Ten samples from the eight patients all revealed rearrangement of both the heavy-chain and light-chain immunoglobulin genes. In one of the patients in whom non-Hodgkin's lymphoma involved both the salivary-gland lesion and an ipsilateral lymph node, the rearrangements of the heavy-chain and light-chain immunoglobulin genes detected at the two sites were identical. One other patient had two distinct benign lymphoepithelial lesions removed two years apart. The rearrangements of the heavy-chain as well as the kappa light-chain genes detected in these two lesions were entirely different. These data suggest that B-cell clonal expansion has an integral role in the pathophysiology of the benign lymphoepithelial lesion and may explain the increased incidence of lymphoma noted in association with this disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • DNA / analysis
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains / genetics
  • Immunoglobulins / genetics*
  • Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / genetics
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Salivary Glands / pathology*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / genetics
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / pathology*


  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains
  • Immunoglobulins
  • DNA