The EML4-ALK transcript but not the fusion protein can be expressed in reactive and neoplastic lymphoid tissues

Gabriella Sozzi, Maria Paola Martelli, Davide Conte, Piergiorgio Modena, Valentina Pettirossi, Stefano A. Pileri, Brunangelo Falini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Rearrangements involving the ALK gene define two distinct entities in the new 2008 WHO classification of lymphoid neoplasms, i.e. ALK+ anaplastic large cell lymphoma and a rare subset of ALK+ diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Recently, rearrangements involving ALK and the echinoderm microtubule associated protein-like 4 (EML4) gene were described as a specific genetic alteration in about 6% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We investigated the expression of EML4-ALK mRNA and protein in 51 reactive and 58 neoplastic lymphoid tissues. EML4-ALK transcripts were detected in 3/51 (5.9%) of reactive lymphoid tissues and 12/58 (20.7%) of lymphomas of different categories, including follicular lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease. Notably, none of these cases expressed the EML4-ALK fusion protein at Western blotting samples and immunohistochemistry. These results indicate that EML4-ALK rearrangements are not specific of NSCLC and raise yet unsolved questions about their role in promoting human neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1307-1311
Number of pages5
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009



  • Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)
  • EML4
  • Fusion protein
  • Fusion transcripts
  • Kinase inhibitors
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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