CD30 ligand is frequently expressed in human hematopoietic malignancies of myeloid and lymphoid origin

Valter Gattei, Massimo Degan, Annunziata Gloghini, Angela De Luliis, Salvatore Improta, Francesca Maria Rossi, Donatella Aldinucci, Vilma Perin, Diego Serraino, Roberta Babare, Vittorina Zagonel, Hans Jürgen Gruss, Antonino Carbone, Antonio Pinto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CD30 ligand (CD30L) is a type-II membrane glycoprotein capable of transducing signals leading to either cell death or proliferation through its specific counter-structure CD30. Although several lines of evidence indicate that CD30L plays a key role as a paracrine- or autocrine-acting surface molecule in the deregulated cytokine cascade of Hodgkin's disease, little is known regarding its distribution and biologic significance in other human hematopoietic malignancies. By analyzing tumor cells from 181 patients with RNA studies and immunostaining by the anti-CD30L monoclonal antibody M80, we were able to show that human hematopoietic malignancies of different lineage and maturation stage display a frequent and broad expression of the ligand. CD30L mRNA and surface protein were detected in 60% of acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs), 54% of B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALLs), and in a consistent fraction (68%) of B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders. In this latter group, hairy cell leukemia and high-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (B-NHL) expressed a higher surface density of CD30L as compared with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia and low-grade B-NHL. Purified plasma- cells from a fraction of multiple myeloma patients also displayed CD30L mRNA and protein. A more restricted expression of CD30L was found in T-cell tumors that was mainly confined to neoplasms with an activated peripheral T-cell phenotype, such as T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia, peripheral T-NHL, and adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. In contrast, none of the T-lineage ALLs analyzed expressed the ligand. In AML, a high cellular density of CD30L was detected in French-American-British M3, M4, and M5 phenotypes, which are directly associated with the presence on tumor cells of certain surface structures, including the p55 interleukin-2 receptor α-chain, the α(M) (CD11b) chain of β2 integrins, and the intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (CD54). Analysis of normal hematopoietic cells evidenced that, in addition to circulating and tonsil B cells, a fraction of bone marrow myeloid precursors, erythroblasts, and subsets of megakaryocytes also express CD30L. Finally, we have shown that native CD30L expressed on primary leukemic cells is functionally active by triggering both mitogenic and antiproliferative signals on CD30+ target cells. As opposed to CD30L, only 10 of 181 primary tumors expressed CD30 mRNA or protein, rendering therefore unlikely a CD30- CD30L autocrine loop in human hematopoietic neoplasms. Taken together, our data indicate that CD30L is widely expressed from early to late stages of human hematopoiesis and suggest a regulatory role for this molecule in the interactions of normal and malignant hematopoietic cells with CD30+ immune effectors and/or microenvironmental accessory cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2048-2059
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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