Marginal zone lymphoma expression of histidine-rich glycoprotein correlates with improved survival

EJHaem. 2020 Aug 6;1(1):199-207. doi: 10.1002/jha2.73. eCollection 2020 Jul.


Purpose: The abundant hepatocyte-expressed plasma protein histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG) enhances antitumor immunity by polarizing inflammatory and immune cells in several mouse models, however, the clinical relevance of HRG in human cancer is poorly explored. The expression and role of HRG in human B-cell lymphomas was investigated in order to find new tools for prognosis and treatment.

Findings: Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis and RNA hybridization of tissue microarrays showed that (i) HRG was expressed by tumor cells in marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), in 36% of 59 cases. Expression was also detected in follicular lymphoma (22%), mantle cell lymphoma (19%), and indiffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL;5%) while primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) lacked expression of HRG. (ii) MZL patients positive for HRG showed a superior overall survival outcome (HR = 0.086, 95% CI = 0.014-0.518, P-value = .007), indicating a protective role for HRG independent of stage, age and sex. (iii) HRG-expressing MZL displayed significantly increased transcript and protein levels of the host defense peptide alpha defensin 1. In addition, global transcript analyses showed significant changes in gene ontology terms relating to immunity and inflammation, however, infiltration of immune and inflammatory cells detected by IHC was unaffected by HRG expression.

Conclusion: HRG expression by MZL tumor cells correlates with an altered transcription profile and improved overall survival.

Keywords: alpha defensin 1; gene expression; histidine rich glycoprotein; marginal zone lymphoma; survival.