Perforin mutations have been demonstrated in a proportion of patients diagnosed with the familial form of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). In the present study, we evaluated whether some patients with lymphoma sharing clinical characteristics with HLH might harbor mutations of the perforin gene. We analyzed 29 patients and found that 4 patients, who developed either Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, had biallelic mutations of the perforin gene. One of these 4 patients, a 19-year-old female with T-cell lymphoma, had a brother carrying the same mutations who developed HLH. In 2 of the 4 patients with biallelic mutations of the perforin gene, we evaluated perform expression by flow cytometry and natural killer (NK) activity and both were found to be absent. Moreover, we documented the presence of monoallelic mutations of the perforin gene in 4 more patients. One of these 4 latter patients also carried a mutation of the Fas gene. These data indicate that perforin deficiency, either alone or in combination with other mutations of genes involved in lymphocyte survival or functional activity, may be present in patients with lymphoma. These findings suggest that perform also plays a key role in the mechanisms of immune surveillance that prevent tumor growth and/or development.
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