Expression status of BCL-6 and syndecan-1 identifies distinct histogenetic subtypes of Hodgkin's disease

Antonino Carbone, Annunziata Gloghini, Gianluca Gaidano, Silvia Franceschi, Daniela Capello, Hans G. Drexler, Brunangelo Falini, Riccardo Dalla-Favera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tumor cells in most cases of Hodgkin's disease (HD) have been recently recognized to originate from the B-cell lineage, but their precise differentiation stage is not fully clarified. Recently, we have reported that the histogenesis of B-cell lymphomas may be assessed by monitoring the expression pattern of BCL-6, a transcription factor expressed in germinal center (GC) B cells, and CD138/syndecan-1 (syn-1), a proteoglycan associated with post-GC, terminal B-cell differentiation. In this study, we have applied these two markers to the study of HD histogenesis. We have found that in nodular lymphocyte predominance HD (NLPHD) tumor cells consistently display the BCL-6+/syn-1- phenotype, indicating their derivation from GC B cells. Conversely, classic HD (CHD) is heterogeneous because the tumor cells of a fraction of CHD display the BCL-6-/syn-1+ phenotype of post-GC B-cells, whereas another fraction of CHD is constituted by a mixture of tumor cells reflecting the GC (BCL-6+/syn-1-) or post-GC (BCL-6-/syn-1+) phenotypes. BCL-6-/syn-1+ tumor cells of CHD are mostly found surrounded by T cells expressing CD40L, consistent with the observation that CD40 signaling downregulates BCL-6 expression. These data indicate that tumor cells of NLPHD uniformly display a GC B-cell phenotype, whereas the phenotype of tumor cells of CHD appears to be modulated by the surrounding cellular background, particularly CD40L+ reactive T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2220-2228
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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