Clonal germinal center B cells function as a niche for T-cell lymphoma

Blood. 2022 Nov 3;140(18):1937-1950. doi: 10.1182/blood.2022015451.


Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) is proposed to be initiated by age-related clonal hematopoiesis (ACH) with TET2 mutations, whereas the G17V RHOA mutation in immature cells with TET2 mutations promotes the development of T follicular helper (TFH)-like tumor cells. Here, we investigated the mechanism by which TET2-mutant immune cells enable AITL development using mouse models and human samples. Among the 2 mouse models, mice lacking Tet2 in all the blood cells (Mx-Cre × Tet2flox/flox × G17V RHOA transgenic mice) spontaneously developed AITL for approximately up to a year, while mice lacking Tet2 only in the T cells (Cd4-Cre × Tet2flox/flox × G17V RHOA transgenic mice) did not. Therefore, Tet2-deficient immune cells function as a niche for AITL development. Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) of >50 000 cells from mouse and human AITL samples revealed significant expansion of aberrant B cells, exhibiting properties of activating light zone (LZ)-like and proliferative dark zone (DZ)-like germinal center B (GCB) cells. The GCB cells in AITL clonally evolved with recurrent mutations in genes related to core histones. In silico network analysis using scRNA-seq data identified Cd40-Cd40lg as a possible mediator of GCB and tumor cell cluster interactions. Treatment of AITL model mice with anti-Cd40lg inhibitory antibody prolonged survival. The genes expressed in aberrantly expanded GCB cells in murine tumors were also broadly expressed in the B-lineage cells of TET2-mutant human AITL. Therefore, ACH-derived GCB cells could undergo independent clonal evolution and support the tumorigenesis in AITL via the CD40-CD40LG axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Germinal Center / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoblastic Lymphadenopathy* / genetics
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell* / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer