Hepatitis C virus has been found to be associated with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas, mostly marginal zone lym-phomas and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Deregulation of signaling pathways involved in normal marginal zone development (NOTCH pathway, NF-κB, and BCR signaling) has been demonstrated in splenic marginal zone lym-phoma. We studied mutations of NOTCH pathway signaling in 46 patients with hepatitis C virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and in 64 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma unrelated to HCV. NOTCH2 mutations were detected in 9 of 46 (20%) hepatitis C virus-positive patients, and NOTCH1 mutations in 2 of 46 (4%). By contrast, only one of 64 HCV-negative patients had a NOTCH1 or NOTCH2 mutation. The frequency of the NOTCH pathway lesions was significantly higher in hepatitis C virus-positive patients (P=0.002). The 5-year overall survival was 27% (95%CI: 5%-56%) for hepatitis C virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients carrying a NOTCH pathway mutation versus 62% (95%CI: 42%-77%) for those without these genetic lesions. By uni-variate analysis, age over 60 years, NOTCH2 mutation, and any mutation of the NOTCH pathway (NOTCH2, NOTCH1, SPEN) were associated with shorter overall survival. Mutation of the NOTCH pathway retained an independent significance (P=0.029). In conclusion, a subset of patients with hepatitis C virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma displays a molecular signature of splenic marginal zone and has a worse clinical outcome.
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