The aetiopathogenesis of Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is still undefined. Constitutional abnormalities in LCH have rarely been reported. One study showed chromosomal instability in lesional cells from three patients. No chromosomal studies are available on peripheral blood lymphocytes. Peripheral blood lymphocytes were analysed for the presence of chromatid and/or chromosomal breaks and structural rearrangements. A fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) painting technique was also applied in two cases. Sixteen patients with multisystem (MS, n = 11) or single system (SS, n = 5) LCH were studied, either at the diagnosis (n = 8), during treatment (n = 2) or during follow-up, when asymptomatic (n = 6). Thirteen patients had chromosomal abnormalities. Eleven patients (69%) had chromatid and chromosomal breaks in 7-45% of cells. Overall, chromosome and chromatid breaks were significantly more frequent in the 11 patients with MS disease than in the five patients with SS disease: the mean percentage of cells showing chromosome and chromatid breaks was 13.4% in MS patients vs. 6.2% in SS patients (P = 0.003). Chromosomal abnormalities may be found in phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes of LCH patients at diagnosis, during the disease course and even during long-term follow-up, more frequently in MS disease. Chromosome instability may be considered as either a basic genetic instability or as a landmark of reaction to an environmental agent (viral?) that, through genome alteration, may play a role in histiocyte proliferation and, in some cases, also in the increased risk of malignancy.
- Chromosomal instability
- Langerhans cell histiocytosis
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