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The New England journal of medicine  2011;364(24):2305-2315.
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a well defined clinico-pathological entity whose underlying genetic lesion is still obscure.
We searched for HCL-associated mutations by massively parallel sequencing of the whole exome of leukemic and matched normal mononuclear cells purified from the peripheral blood of one patient with HCL.
Whole exome sequencing identified 5 missense somatic clonal mutations that were confirmed at Sanger sequencing, including a heterozygous V600E mutation involving the BRAF gene. Since the BRAF V600E mutation is oncogenic in other tumors, further analyses were focused on this genetic lesion. Sanger sequencing detected mutated BRAF in 46/46 additional HCL patients (47/47 including the index case; 100%). None of the 193 peripheral B-cell lymphomas/leukemias other than HCL that were investigated carried the BRAF V600E mutation, including 36 cases of splenic marginal zone lymphomas and unclassifiable splenic lymphomas/leukemias. Immunohistological and Western blot studies showed that HCL cells express phospho-MEK and phospho-ERK (the downstream targets of the BRAF kinase), indicating a constitutive activation of the RAF-MEK-ERK mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in HCL. In vitro incubation of BRAF-mutated primary leukemic cells from 5 HCL patients with PLX-4720, a specific inhibitor of active BRAF, led to marked decrease of phosphorylated ERK and MEK.
The BRAF V600E mutation was present in all HCL patients investigated. This finding may have relevant implications for the pathogenesis, diagnosis and targeted therapy of HCL (Funded by the Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro and others).
PMCID: PMC3689585  PMID: 21663470
2.  Regression of a case of Multiple Myeloma with antiviral treatment in a patient with chronic HCV infection☆ 
Leukemia Research Reports  2013;2(1):39-40.
We report a case of a 54 year old patient with Multiple Myeloma (MM) and chronic HCV infection. In 2005 MM was diagnosed and a chemotherapy was prescribed. Before starting treatment a chronic HCV infection was found. When she came to our Institution for a second opinion, chemotherapy treatment was not considered immediately necessary so the patient was treated for the HCV chronic infection (Pegilated alpha-Interferon 180 μg/week and Ribavirin 1000 mg p.o./day). After one month of treatment she presented a reduction of Bence Jones protein (BJ) that further decreased in the following three months. The antiviral treatment was suspended after six months and a re-evaluation showed a complete viral response and a regression of MM. Sixty-eight months after the end of antiviral treatment the patient is asymptomatic and presents a condition compatible with an M-GUS. While the association between HCV infection and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is consolidated and it is clearly demonstrated that antiviral treatment in these patients can induce a high proportion of partial and complete remission, a similar effect was never described in MM. The response obtained in our patient may suggest a possible a role of HCV in the pathogenesis of MM.
PMCID: PMC3850378  PMID: 24371776
Myeloma; HCV; Hepatitis; Treatment
3.  The association of hepatitis B virus infection with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma – a review 
Epidemiological studies performed over the last decade have demonstrated a positive association between persistent, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), with HBV-infected patients having a 2-3-fold higher risk to develop NHL than non-infected patients. Moreover, there is evidence that also occult HBV infection (HBsAg-negative, HBV DNA-positive) associates with NHL. An association with HBV infection may exist also for other hematological malignancies, but available evidence is much less persuasive than for NHL. In this review article we will discuss available results on the association between HBsAg-positive HBV infection and NHL, as well as the significance of other serological markers of HBV infection in these subjects. We will also discuss the possible etiopathogenic role of HBV, and propose a multifactorial model for lymphomagenesis. Experimental evidence for multifactorial etiopathogenesis has been obtained in recent years for HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and we suggest that a similar model may apply to HBV-associated lymphoma as well. Eventually, we will also address some unresolved questions. Two of these are of particular relevance. First, do HBV-positive NHL patients show regression of their hematologic malignancy upon antiviral therapy? A positive answer would represent a direct demonstration of the necessary etiological role of the virus in the development of NHL, as has been shown previously for HCV-associated lymphomas. Second, if HBV plays a necessary role in lymphomagenesis, then expansion of HBV vaccination is expected to reduce the number of incident NHL cases, even though this effect might become evident only after a long time interval. Studies in those countries which have introduced universal HBV vaccination about two decades ago, like Italy, may soon provide results on this important point.
PMCID: PMC3301438  PMID: 22432084
Hepatitis B virus; occult infection; anti-HBs antibodies; anti-HBe antibodies; anti-HBc antibodies; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; hematologic malignancies; antiviral therapy; multicausal etiology; vaccination
4.  Gene Expression Profiling of Hairy Cell Leukemia Reveals a Phenotype Related to Memory B Cells with Altered Expression of Chemokine and Adhesion Receptors 
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a chronic B cell malignancy characterized by the diffuse infiltration of bone marrow and spleen by cells displaying a typical “hairy” morphology. However, the nature of the HCL phenotype and its relationship to normal B cells and to other lymphoma subtypes remains unclear. Using gene expression profiling, we show here that HCL displays a homogeneous pattern of gene expression, which is clearly distinct from that of other B cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Comparison with the gene expression profiles of purified normal B cell subpopulations, including germinal center (GC), pre-GC (naive), and post-GC (memory) B cells, shows that HCL cells are more related to memory cells, suggesting a derivation from this B cell population. Notably, when compared with memory cells, HCL cells displayed a remarkable conservation in proliferation, apoptosis, and DNA metabolism programs, whereas they appeared significantly altered in the expression of genes controlling cell adhesion and response to chemokines. Finally, these analyses have identified several genes that are specifically expressed in HCL and whose expression was confirmed at the protein level by immunocytochemical analysis of primary HCL cases. These results have biological implications relevant to the pathogenesis of this malignancy as well as clinical implications for its diagnosis and therapy.
PMCID: PMC1887727  PMID: 14707115
DNA microarray; germinal center; hairy morphology; marrow fibrosis; homing

Results 1-4 (4)