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Evolution of classic Hodgkin lymphoma in correlation to changes in the lymphoid organ structure of vertebrates

Posted by on in 2003
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 Developmental & Comparative Immunology Volume 27, Issue 1 , January 2003, Pages 43-53
V. Seitz (a), M. Hummel (b), J. Walter (c) and H. Stein (b)
(a) Max Planck Institute Molecular Genetics, Ihnestr. 73, 14195, Berlin, Germany
(b) Institute of Pathology, Free University, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200, Berlin, Germany
(c) BASF AG, GV/T-Z470, 67056, Ludwigshafen, Germany
Received 29 August 2001; revised 15 June 2002; accepted 23 June 2002; Available online 1 August 2002 .


In order to integrate evolutionary concepts into lymphoma research we mapped features of classic Hodgkin lymphoma (a disease which has been recently described to be derived from germinal center B-cells) onto a phylogenetic tree of vertebrates. Secondly, we matched the phylogenetic occurrence of classic Hodgkin lymphoma to the changes in the lymphoid organ structure during vertebrate evolution. According to our analysis, classic Hodgkin lymphoma evolved exclusively at the developmental stage of mammals. Interestingly the appearance of Hodgkin lymphoma is correlated to the evolution of germinal centers in mammals. This lends some credit to the hypothesis that genes specific to the germinal center reaction are involved in the pathogenesis of Hodgkin lymphoma. However, as evolution did not stop at the developmental stage of the mammalian stem-species, to a certain extent species with specific differences of classic Hodgkin lymphoma can be expected. One such difference is that classic Hodgkin lymphoma occurs with a significantly higher frequency in humans than in all other mammals. This could be partially due to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in approximately 40%-50% of Hodgkin disease cases, that is associated with an expression of the EBV-encoded oncogen LMP-1. In conclusion we propose that the mapping of lymphoma related characteristics onto a phylogenetic tree is a valuable new tool in lymphoma research.

Author Keywords: B-cell lymphoma; Classic Hodgkin lymphoma; Evolution; Phylogeny; Ontogeny; Epstein-Barr virus; Germinal center; Pathology

Abbreviations: cHL, classic Hodgkin lymphoma; Ig, immunoglobulin; HRS cells, Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells.

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