The CHK2 gene codifies for a serine/ threonine kinase that plays a central role in DNA damage response pathways. To determine the potential role of CHK2 alterations in the pathogenesis of lymphoid neoplasms we have examined the gene status, protein, and mRNA expression in a series of tumors and nonneoplastic lymphoid samples. A heterozygous Ile157Thr substitution, also present in the germ line of the patient, was detected in a blastoid mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). CHK2 protein and mRNA expression levels were similar in all types of lymphomas and reactive samples, and these levels were independent of the proliferative activity of the tumors. However, 5 tumors, one typical MCL, 2 blastoid MCLs, and 2 large cell lymphomas, showed marked loss of protein expression, including 2 samples with complete absence of CHK2 protein. These 2 lymphomas showed the highest number of chromosomal imbalances detected by comparative genomic hybridization in the whole series of cases. However, no mutations, deletions, or hypermethylation of the promoter region were identified in any of these tumors. mRNA levels were similar in cases with low and normal protein expression, suggesting a posttranscriptional regulation of the protein in these tumors. CHK2 gene and protein alterations were not related to p53 and ATM gene status. In conclusion, CHK2 alterations are uncommon in malignant lymphomas but occur in a subset of aggressive tumors independently of p53 or ATM alterations. The high number of chromosomal imbalances in tumors with complete absence of CHK2 protein suggests a role of this gene in chromosomal instability in human lymphomas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas