Expression of carbohydrate antigens, p80NPM/ALK, cytotoxic cell-associated antigens, and Epstein-Barr virus gene products in anaplastic large cell lymphomas

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The expression of carbohydrate antigens, including sialyl Lewis X (SLEX) and BNH9 antigen, the nucleophosmin (NPM)-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion protein (p80NPM/ALK), cytotoxic cell-associated antigens, and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) gene products in CD30+ anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) was investigated by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization (ISH) methods. The expression of SLEX and BNH9 antigen in ALCL was examined using CSLEX1 and BNH9, which specifically react with SLEX and oligosaccharides (H and Y haptens), respectively. SLEX was expressed in seven of 12 ALCL and BNH9 was positive for five of 12 ALCL. With respect to the relationship between SLEX and BNH9 expression in ALCL, some ALCL expressed both antigens, which suggests that they might have an increased or preserved activity of glycosyltransferase that is responsible for the synthesis of the type I or type II core sequences, although other ALCL expressed either SLEX or BNH9. To detect p80NPM/ALK in ALCL, the sections were immunostained with an anti-p80 antibody. Three of 12 ALCL expressed the NPM/ALK-encoded p80 protein. All three ALCL positive for p80NPM/ALK expressed SLEX and two of them were stained with BNH9, which raised the possibility that p80 over-expression may be involved in the aberrant expression of type I or type II chains with varying degrees of fucosylation or sialylation. While the expression of cytotoxic cell-associated antigens such as CD8, CD56 and T cell intercellular antigen 1 (TIA-1) in ALCL was immunohistochemically examined, none of the 12 ALCL expressed CD56 and only one case expressed CD8. TIA-1 was expressed in seven of 12 ALCL. Four of five BNH9-positive cases expressed TIA-1, suggesting that BNH9-positive cases tended to have TIA-1. In situ hybridization studies using an EBV-encoded RNA-1 (EBER-1) probe were performed on 12 ALCL to detect EBV in the lymphoma cells. EBER-1 signals were detected in the small lymphocytes but not in the lymphoma cells of two ALCL. However, latent membrane protein 1 immunoreactivity was found in one case. These results appear to indicate that there is no strong association between EBV and ALCL.

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