Background: BCL2 is upregulated in nodal and extranodal B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, with a consequent antiapoptotic effect. However, loss of BCL2 has also been noted in some malignancies, suggesting a different molecular pathogenesis. Objectives: To investigate genomic and protein expression status of BCL2 and to compare the results with that of JUNB in primary cutaneous lymphomas (PCLs). Methods: We analysed gene copy number of BCL2 and JUNB in 88 DNA samples from 80 patients with PCL consisting of Sézary syndrome/mycosis fungoides (SS/MF), primary cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (PCBCL) and primary cutaneous CD30+ anaplastic large cell lymphoma (C-ALCL) by the use of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Real-time PCR and IHC findings were subsequently compared with the results of additional fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis of 23 cases of SS and Affymetrix cDNA expression microarray study of two primary cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) cell lines. Results: Real-time PCR analysis showed loss of BCL2 gene copy number in 22 of 80 PCL cases (28%), including 17 of 42 SS/MF, three of 13 C-ALCL and two of 33 PCBCL samples, and gain of BCL2 in four PCBCL samples. Gain of JUNB was identified in 18 of 71 PCL cases (25%), including nine of 35 SS/MF, seven of 13 C-ALCL and two of 31 PCBCL samples. IHC analysis revealed absent nuclear expression of BCL2 protein in 47 of 73 PCL cases, comprising 28 of 36 SS/MF, eight of eight C-ALCL and 11 of 29 PCBCL cases. In contrast, BCL2 protein expression was detected in 26 of 73 PCL cases, consisting of 18 of 29 PCBCL and eight of 36 SS/MF cases. JUNB protein expression was present in tumour cells from 30 of 33 of SS/MF and eight of eight C-ALCL, and was absent in tumour cells from 18 of 27 PCBCL cases. A comparison between BCL2 and JUNB revealed loss of BCL2 and gain of JUNB in five of 35 SS/MF samples, and expression of JUNB protein and absent BCL2 expression in 25 SS/MF and eight of eight C-ALCL cases. In contrast, expression of BCL2 and absent JUNB expression were detected in 67% of PCBCL cases. Additional FISH analysis revealed deletion of BCL2 in 19 of 23 SS cases (83%), including eight cases with BCL2 loss shown by real-time PCR. Furthermore, Affymetrix expression microarray demonstrated decreased expression of proapoptotic and antiapoptotic genes involved in BCL2 signalling pathways such as BOK, BIM, HRK, RASA1 and STAT2 in two CTCL cell lines with BCL2 loss and absent BCL2 expression. Increased expression of JUNB was also identified in the MF cell line.
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