BCL-6 in AIDS-related lymphomas: Pathogenetic and histogenetic implications

Gianluca Gaidano, Daniela Capello, Annunziata Gloghini, Cristina Pastore, Anna Migliazza, Silvia Quattrone, Francesco Savinelli, Daniela Buonaiuto, Anna Maria Cilia, Tiziana Perin, Laura Pasqualucci, Vincenzo Canzonieri, Giuseppe Saglio, Riccardo Dalla-Favera, Antonino Carbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIDS-related non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (AIDS-NHL) are classified into Burkitt's lymphoma, diffuse large cell lymphoma (DLCL), and body cavity based lymphoma. The molecular pathogenesis of AIDS-NHL is complex and involves the genetic alteration of several cancer related genes, including the BCL-6 proto-oncogene. BCL-6 encodes a zinc finger transcription factor which is selectively expressed by germinal center (GC) B-cells, but not by pre-GC or post-GC B-cells. Genetic alterations of BCL-6 occur frequently among B-cell NHL and comprise gross rearrangements as well as small mutations of the 5' noncoding region of the gene. Gross rearrangements of BCL-6 among AIDS-NHL cluster with 20% AIDS-DLCL. Conversely, mutations of the 5' noncoding region of BCL-6 occur at sustained frequency throughout the clinico-pathologic spectrum of AIDS-NHL and represent the most common genetic alteration presently detectable in these lymphomas. The frequency of BCL-6 mutations, as well as their location in the proximity of the BCL-6 regulatory regions, suggest that they may play a pathogenetic role in AIDS-related lymphomagenesis. Beside their pathogenetic implications, the occurrence of BCL-6 mutations among AIDS-NHL bears histogenetic relevance because BCL-6 mutations are regarded as a marker of B-cell transition through the GC. Thus, it is conceivable that a large fraction of AIDS-NHL is histogenetically related to GC or post-GC B-cells. This notion is further confirmed by the observation that AIDS-NHL frequently express the BCL-6 protein, which stains selectively GC B-cells throughout B-cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • AIDS
  • BCL-6
  • Germinal center
  • Lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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