Rare expression of KIT (CD117) in lymphomas: A tissue microarray study of 1166 cases

A. Zimpfer, P. Went, A. Tzankov, A. C. Pehrs, A. Lugli, R. Maurer, L. Terracciano, S. Pileri, Stephan Dirnhofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: Imatinib mesylate specifically inhibits KIT tyrosine kinase activity, and has been proven to be effective in the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Because other KIT-expressing malignancies might benefit from Imatinib therapy, we evaluated the distribution and expression of KIT in 1166 cases of malignant lymphoma. Materials and results: Tissue microarrays (TMAs) containing 824 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and 342 Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) cases were immunohistochemically analysed for the expression of the KIT protein. Two KIT-positive NHLs were sequenced using polymerase chain reaction analysis. One T-cell lymphoma and one follicular lymphoma of the 747 NHL cases (0.3%) were positive for KIT. All HLs were Kit-negative. None of the KIT-positive cases showed a kit gene mutation. Conclusions: KIT expression is a very rare event in NHL and virtually absent in HL. In the few positive cases, the aberrant expression is not caused by a mutation in the 'hot-spots' of the kit gene, indicating that treatment of these tumours with Imatinib may be ineffective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-404
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • CD117
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • KIT
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Tissue microarray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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