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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Hematology - Oncology - Pathology

EZH2 Codon 641 Mutations are Common in BCL2-Rearranged Germinal Center B Cell Lymphomas
Published: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Author: Russell J. H. Ryan et al.

by Russell J. H. Ryan, Mai Nitta, Darrell Borger, Lawrence R. Zukerberg, Judith A. Ferry, Nancy Lee Harris, A. John Iafrate, Bradley E. Bernstein, Aliyah R. Sohani, Long Phi Le

Mutations at codon 641 of EZH2 are recurrent in germinal center B cell lymphomas, and the most common variants lead to altered EZH2 enzymatic activity and enhanced tri-methylation of histone H3 at lysine 27, a repressive chromatin modification. As an initial step toward screening patients for cancer genotype-directed therapy, we developed a screening assay for EZH2 codon 641 mutations amenable for testing formalin-fixed clinical specimens, based on the sensitive SNaPshot single nucleotide extension technology. We detected EZH2 mutations in 12/55 (22%) follicular lymphomas (FL), 5/35 (14%) diffuse large B cell lymphomas with a germinal center immunophenotype (GCB-DLBCL), and 2/11 (18%) high grade B cell lymphomas with concurrent rearrangements of BCL2 and MYC. No EZH2 mutations were detected in cases of Burkitt lymphoma (0/23). EZH2 mutations were frequently associated with the presence of BCL2 rearrangement (BCL2-R) in both the FL (28% of BCL-R cases versus 0% of BCL2-WT cases, p<0.05) and GCB-DLBCL groups (33% of BCL2-R cases versus 4% of BCL2-WT cases, p<0.04), and across all lymphoma types excluding BL (27% of BCL2-R cases versus 3% of BCL2-WT cases, p<0.003). We confirmed gain-of-function activity for all previously reported EZH2 codon 641 mutation variants. Our findings suggest that EZH2 mutations constitute an additional genetic “hit” in many BCL2-rearranged germinal center B cell lymphomas. Our work may be helpful in the selection of lymphoma patients for future trials of pharmacologic agents targeting EZH2 and EZH2-regulated pathways.
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