BCL2 and MYC dual-hit lymphoma/leukemia

Naoto Tomita
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hematopathology: JCEH 2011, 51 (1): 7-12
Translocation of the BCL2 gene on the chromosome band 18q21.3 results in consistent expression of the Bcl2 protein, an apoptosis inhibitor. BCL2 usually translocates to the immunoglobulin (IG) heavy chain (IGH) gene as t(14;18)(q32;q21.3) and rarely to IG light chain (IGK, IGL) loci as t(2;18)(p11;q21.3) or t(18;22)(q21.3;q11). The t(14;18) translocation is observed in 70-95% of follicular lymphoma cases and 20-30% of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cases. The MYC gene on chromosome band 8q24 acts as an accelerator of cell proliferation. MYC translocates to 14q32/IGH as t(8;14)(q24;q32) or less commonly to 2p11/IGK as t(2;8)(p11;q24) or 22q11/IGL as t(8;22)(q24;q11). The 8q24/MYC translocation is detected in nearly all Burkitt lymphoma (BL) and up to 10% of DLBCL cases. Both translocations rarely occur in an identical cell and this lymphoid malignancy is termed BCL2 and MYC dual-hit lymphoma/leukemia (DHL). The pathological diagnosis in most cases of DHL with BCL2-IG and MYC-IG translocation is B-cell lymphoma, unclassifiable, with features intermediate between DLBCL and BL, although DLBCL is most common in DHL with BCL2-IG and MYC-nonIG translocation. The frequency of DHL with BCL2 and MYC translocation is estimated at around 2% of all B-cell malignancies. The condition is characterized by elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase levels, the presence of B symptoms, bone marrow involvement, advanced disease stage, extranodal involvement, and central nervous system (CNS) involvement at presentation or disease progression. Despite treatment strategies including CNS-targeted therapy, the prognosis for DHL is extremely poor. In this review, the current knowledge of the clinicopathological status of DHL is summarized and discussed.

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