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Aberrations of the MYC gene in unselected cases of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma are rare and unpredictable by morphological or immunohistochemical assessment
  1. E C Obermann,
  2. M Csato,
  3. S Dirnhofer,
  4. A Tzankov
  1. Institute of Pathology, University of Basel, Switzerland
  1. Dr A Tzankov, University Hospital Basel, Institute of Pathology, Schoenbeinstrasse 40, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland; atzankov{at}


Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) with aberrations of MYC probably represent a distinct clinicopathological entity following an aggressive course. Their incidence in unselected DLBCL collectives is debatable and the identification of such cases may be difficult. Therefore, the molecular epidemiology of MYC aberrations in DLBCL and whether they can be predicted by morphology and immunohistochemistry were studied on tissue microarrays containing 333 cases. Evaluation of MYC by fluorescence in situ hybridisation was successful in 220/333 (66%) cases. 9/220 (4%) cases showed MYC breaks. Re-evaluation of these tumours did not show any specific morphological and/or immunohistochemical features. The median survival time was 9 months for the respective patients, as opposed to 80 for patients without MYC breaks. The presence of MYC breaks in DLBCL cannot be reliably predicted by conventional methods. Since such patients might profit from different forms of treatment, routine testing of all DLBCL for MYC aberrations is suggested.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: This study was partially supported by the Oncosuisse grant OCS-02072-04-2007.

  • Ethics approval: Retrieval of tissue and clinical data were performed according to the regulations of the local institutional review board and data safety laws.