Several miRNAs have been reported to be associated with immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) mutation and ZAP-70 expression status in blood samples of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (B-CLL/SLL). In the bone marrow and lymphoid tissues, proliferation centres (PCs) represent an important site of activation and proliferation of the neoplastic cells, suggesting that these tissues better reflect the biology of CLL than circulating blood cells. We collected 33 lymph nodes and 37 blood CLL samples and analysed IgH mutation status and ZAP-70 expression status. Expression of 15 miRNAs was analysed by qRT-PCR and RNA-ISH. Sixty-three per cent of the lymph node cases contained mutated IgH genes and 49% of the lymph node cases were ZAP-70-positive, and a significant correlation was observed between ZAP-70 expression and IgH mutation status. Of the blood CLL samples, 49% contained mutated IgH sequences. The miRNA expression pattern in CLL lymph node and blood samples was very similar. Three of 15 miRNAs (miR-16, miR-21, and miR-150) showed a high expression level in both blood and lymph node samples. No difference was observed between ZAP-70-positive or -negative and between IgH-mutated or unmutated cases. No correlation was found between miR-15a and miR-16 expression levels and 13q14 deletion in the blood CLL samples. RNA in situ hybridization (ISH) revealed strong homogeneous staining of miR-150 in the tumour cells outside the PCs. In reverse BIC/pri-miR-155 expression was observed mainly in individual cells including prolymphocytes of the PCs. This reciprocal pattern likely reflects the different functions and targets of miR-150 and miR-155. Copyright

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Journal of Pathology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Wang, M., Tan, L. P., Dijkstra, M. K., van Lom, K., Robertus, J. L., Harms, G., … van den Berg, A. (2008). miRNA analysis in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: Proliferation centres characterized by low miR-150 and high BIC/miR-155 expression. Journal of Pathology, 215(1), 13–20. doi:10.1002/path.2333