[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gain of chromosome 18q and translocation t(14;18) are] frequently found in B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (B-NHL). Increased BCL2 transcription and BCL2 protein expression have been suggested to be the result of the gain. We utilized FISH, PCR and array CGH to study BCL2 and chromosome 18 copy number changes and rearrangements in 93 cases of B-NHL. BCL2 protein was expressed in >75% of the tumor cells in 92% of the cases by immunohistochemistry. Gain of BCL2 was associated with a 25% increase in BCL2 expression levels (immunoblotting), whereas t(14;18) resulted in a 55% increase in BCL2 levels compared to cases without BCL2 alterations. The tumor cell (spontaneous) apoptotic fractions were similar for the cases with different BCL2 genotypes. However, the normal cell apoptotic fractions were higher for the tumors with t(14;18) compared to the tumors without BCL2 alterations, while the tumors with gain of BCL2 only showed intermediate levels. Low-level gains of parts of chromosome 18 were found in 14 of the 38 B-NHL cases with t(14;18), with a consensus region 18pter-q21.33 that did not include the BCL2 gene. The 11 cases with 18q gain only showed a consensus region encompassing 18q21.2-18q21.32 and 18q21.33, which contain PMAIP1/MALT1 and BCL2, respectively.