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1.  The different epidemiologic subtypes of Burkitt lymphoma share a homogenous micro RNA profile distinct from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma 
Leukemia  2011;25(12):1869-1876.
Sporadic Burkitt lymphoma (sBL) can be delineated from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) by a very homogeneous mRNA expression signature. However, it remained unclear whether all three BL variantsFsBL, endemic BL (eBL) and human immunodeficiency virus-associated BL (HIV-BL)F represent a uniform biological entity despite their differences in geographical occurrence, association with immunodeficiency and/or incidence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. To address this issue, we generated micro RNA (miRNA) profiles from 18 eBL, 31 sBL and 15 HIV-BL cases. In addition, we analyzed the miRNA expression of 86 DLBCL to determine whether miRNA profiles recapitulate the molecular differences between BL and DLBCL evidenced by mRNA profiling. A signature of 38 miRNAs containing MYC regulated and nuclear factor-kB pathway-associated miRNAs was obtained that differentiated BL from DLBCL. The miRNA profiles of sBL and eBL displayed only six differentially expressed miRNAs, whereas HIV and EBV infection had no impact on the miRNA profile of BL. In conclusion, miRNA profiling confirms that BL and DLBCL represent distinct lymphoma categories and demonstrates that the three BL variants are representatives of the same biological entity with only marginal miRNA expression differences between eBL and sBL.
PMCID: PMC3902789  PMID: 21701491
Burkitt lymphoma; epidemiological variants; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; micro RNA profiling
2.  Treatment of Burkitt lymphoma in equatorial Africa using a simple three-drug combination followed by a salvage regimen for patients with persistent or recurrent disease 
British journal of haematology  2012;158(6):749-762.
Prior to the introduction of the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR) protocol INCTR 03-06, survival of patients with Burkitt lymphoma at 4 tertiary care centres in equatorial Africa was probably no more than 10–20%. The results reported here for 356 patients have demonstrated marked improvement in survival through the use of a uniform treatment protocol consisting of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, vincristine, and intrathecal therapy, and the introduction of non-cross resistant second-line (salvage) therapy, consisting of ifosfamide, mesna, etoposide and cytarabine, when patients failed to achieve a complete response to first-line therapy or relapsed early. Overall survival rates of 67% and 62% were observed at 1 and 2 years (relapse is rare after one year). Of interest was the small impact of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and bone marrow involvement on outcome. However, the presence or absence of abdominal involvement clearly defined two prognostic groups. An additional finding was the association between CSF pleocytosis and orbital tumours, suggesting that spread of tumour cells to the central nervous system may occur via direct involvement of cranial nerves in the orbit. Survival rates may be increased in patients with abdominal involvement by combining first- and second-line therapy, but verification will require a further clinical study.
PMCID: PMC3431556  PMID: 22844968
Childhood haematological malignancies; clinical research; chemotherapy
3.  Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 induces expression of the cellular microRNA hsa-miR-127 and impairing B-cell differentiation in EBV-infected memory B cells. New insights into the pathogenesis of Burkitt lymphoma 
Blood Cancer Journal  2012;2(8):e84-.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is a γ-herpesvirus that infects >90% of the human population. Although EBV persists in its latent form in healthy carriers, the virus is also associated with several human cancers. EBV is strongly associated with Burkitt lymphoma (BL), even though there is still no satisfactory explanation of how EBV participates in BL pathogenesis. However, new insights into the interplay between viruses and microRNAs (miRNAs) have recently been proposed. In particular, it has been shown that B-cell differentiation in EBV-positive BL is impaired at the post-transcriptional level by altered expression of hsa-miR-127. Here, we show that the overexpression of hsa-miR-127 is due to the presence of the EBV-encoded nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) and give evidence of a novel mechanism of direct regulation of the human miRNA by this viral product. Finally, we show that the combinatorial expression of EBNA1 and hsa-miR-127 affects the expression of master B-cell regulators in human memory B cells, confirming the scenario previously observed in EBV-positive BL primary tumors and cell lines. A good understanding of these mechanisms will help to clarify the complex regulatory networks between host and pathogen, and favor the design of more specific treatments for EBV-associated malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3432484  PMID: 22941339
Epstein-Barr virus; microRNAs; Burkitt lymphoma
4.  HIV-1 Tat mimetic of VEGF correlates with increased microvessels density in AIDS-related diffuse large B-cell and Burkitt lymphomas 
Journal of Hematopathology  2008;1(1):3-10.
Angiogenic switch marks the beginning of tumor’s strategy to acquire independent blood supply. In some subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, higher local vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression correlates with increased microvessel density. However, this local VEGF expression is higher only in tumors with elevated expression of the receptors of the growth factor, suggesting an autocrine growth-promoting feedback loop. Several studies have indicated that VEGF receptors are also targeted by Tat protein from the HIV-1-infected cells. Given the similarity of the basic region of Tat to the angiogenic factors (basic fibroblast growth factor, VEGF), Tat mimics these proteins and binds to their receptors. We evaluated the role of HIV-1 Tat in regulating the level of VEGF expression and microvessel density in the AIDS-related diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL) and Burkitt lymphomas (BL). By luciferase assay, we showed that VEGF promoter activity was downregulated in vitro in cells transfected with Tat. Reduced VEGF protein expression in primary HIV-1 positive BL and DLBCL, compared to the negative cases, supported the findings of promoter downregulation from the cell lines. Microvascular density assessed by CD34 expression was, however, higher in HIV-1 positive than in HIV-1 negative tumors. These results suggest that Tat has a wider angiogenic role, besides the regulation of VEGF expression. Thus, targeting Tat protein itself and stabilizing transient silencing of VEGF expression or use of monoclonal antibodies against their receptors in the AIDS-associated tumors will open a window for future explorable pathways in the management of angiogenic phenotypes in the AIDS-associated non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.
PMCID: PMC2712328  PMID: 19669199
HIV-1 Tat; Microvessel density; Diffuse large B-cell; Burkitt lymphoma
5.  Update on extranodal lymphomas. Conclusions of the Workshop held by the EAHP and the SH in Thessaloniki, Greece 
Histopathology  2006;48(5):481-504.
Campo E, Chott A, Kinney M C, Leoncini L, Meijer C J L M, Papadimitriou C S, Piris M A, Stein H & Swerdlow S H (2006) Histopathology48, 481–504
Update on extranodal lymphomas. Conclusions of the Workshop held by the EAHP and the SH in Thessaloniki, Greece
Classification and proper treatment of extranodal lymphoma is hindered by the diversity of lymphoma types and the relative rarity of many of these tumour types. In order to review controversial issues in extranodal lymphoma diagnosis, a joint Workshop of the European Haematopathology Association (EAHP) and the Society for Hematopathology (SH) was held, where 99 selected cases were reviewed and discussed. This Workshop summary is focused on the most controversial aspect of cutaneous B-cell lymphoma, other extranodal B-cell lymphomas, plasmablastic lymphoma and anaplastic large-cell lymphoma in extranodal sites, and makes practical recommendations about diagnosis and therapeutic approaches.
PMCID: PMC1448691  PMID: 16623775
extranodal lymphomas; cutaneous lymphoma; thyroid lymphoma; ALCL lymphoma
6.  Burkitt’s lymphoma: new insights into molecular pathogenesis 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2003;56(3):188-192.
The World Health Organisation classification reports three subcategories of Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL)—endemic, non-endemic, and immunodeficiency associated—proposed to reflect the major clinical and genetic subtypes of this disease. These different types of BL have been reviewed and studied by immunohistochemistry and molecular methods. The results point out the heterogeneity of BL and suggest that AIDS related BL may have a different pathogenesis from that of classic BL.
PMCID: PMC1769902  PMID: 12610094
Burkitt’s lymphoma; cell cycle; human immunodeficiency virus
7.  Cell kinetics and cell cycle regulation in lymphomas 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2002;55(9):648-655.
The proliferative indices of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are useful prognostic indicators and provide information independent of other histological and clinical variables. However, proliferative indices alone do not suffice to characterise cell growth. A high cell production rate may be compensated, almost or fully, by a high cell deletion rate. A re-evaluation of parameters of cell kinetics in view of our increasing knowledge of the molecular pathways of cell cycle control may provide more prognostic information for the management of patients with malignant lymphomas.
PMCID: PMC1769756  PMID: 12194992
cell kinetics; cell cycle; malignant lymphomas
8.  p53 mutation in breast cancer. Correlation with cell kinetics and cell of origin 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2002;55(6):461-466.
Aim: Several studies have investigated the expression of the cytokeratins (CKs), vimentin, the epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR), the oestrogen receptor (ER), and the progesterone receptor (PgR), in breast cancer, but no study has directly compared p53 mutations with these phenotypic and differentiation markers in the same case. The present study was designed to provide some of this information.
Methods: The expression of the p53 and bcl-2 proteins was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in relation to phenotypic characteristics and cellular kinetic parameters (mitotic index and apoptotic index) in 37 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and 27 cases of infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC) of the breast. In addition, p53 gene mutation was examined by polymerase chain reaction single strand conformation polymorphism analysis (SSCP).
Results: Thirteen cases (eight DCIS and five IDC) showed expression of CK8, CK14, CK18, vimentin, and EGFR, consistent with a stem cell phenotype, whereas 44 cases (27 DCIS and 17 IDC) showed expression of CK8 and CK1, weak or negative expression of CK18, but were negative for vimentin and EGFR, consistent with a luminal cell phenotype. DCIS and IDC cases with a stem cell phenotype were ER/PgR negative and intermediately or poorly differentiated. In contrast, the cases with luminal cell phenotype were ER/PgR positive and well or intermediately differentiated. In addition, intermediately or poorly differentiated cases with a stem cell phenotype showed higher proliferative activity (per cent of MIB-l positive cells) than did intermediately or well differentiated cases with a luminal cell phenotype. Both DCIS and IDC cases with a stem cell phenotype were p53 positive and bcl-2 negative by immunohistochemistry. In IDC, p53 expression was associated with a reduction of both mitotic index and apoptotic index compared with DCIS. Most of the tumours showing a more differentiated phenotype (luminal) were p53 negative and bcl-2 positive. In these cases, cell kinetic parameters increased from DCIS to IDC. These data suggest the existence of subsets of DCIS and IDC that, because of their phenotypic characteristics, could be derived from subpopulations of normal breast cells having different control mechanisms of cell proliferation and neoplastic progression.
Conclusions: These results are compatible with the hypothesis that the phenotype of the cell of origin constrains both tumour phenotype and the choice of genetic events; however, the occurrence of p53 mutants by chance during neoplastic transformation cannot be excluded.
PMCID: PMC1769674  PMID: 12037031
ductal carcinoma in situ; infiltrating ductal carcinoma; cell kinetics; p53; bcl-2
9.  Hodgkin's lymphoma: the pathologist's viewpoint 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2002;55(3):162-176.
Despite its well known histological and clinical features, Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) has recently been the object of intense research activity, leading to a better understanding of its phenotype, molecular characteristics, histogenesis, and possible mechanisms of lymphomagenesis. There is complete consensus on the B cell derivation of the tumour in most cases, and on the relevance of Epstein-Barr virus infection and defective cytokinesis in at least a proportion of patients. The REAL/WHO classification recognises a basic distinction between lymphocyte predominance HL (LP-HL) and classic HL (CHL), reflecting the differences in clinical presentation and behaviour, morphology, phenotype, and molecular features. CHL has been classified into four subtypes: lymphocyte rich, nodular sclerosing, with mixed cellularity, and lymphocyte depleted. The borders between CHL and anaplastic large cell lymphoma have become sharper, whereas those between LP-HL and T cell rich B cell lymphoma remain ill defined. Treatments adjusted to the pathobiological characteristics of the tumour in at risk patients have been proposed and are on the way to being applied.
PMCID: PMC1769601  PMID: 11896065
Hodgkin's lymphoma; differential diagnosis; subtypes; Epstein-Barr virus

Results 1-9 (9)