[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is an aggressive B-cell lymphoma, with a characteristic clinical presentation, morphology and immunophenotype. Over the past years, the typical translocation t(8;14) and its variants have been considered the molecular hallmark of this tumor. However, BL cases with no detectable MYC rearrangement have been identified. Intriguingly, these cases express MYC at levels comparable with cases carrying the translocation. In normal cells c-Myc expression is tightly regulated through a complex feedback loop mechanism. In cancer, MYC is often dysregulated, commonly due to genomic abnormalities. It has recently emerged that this phenomenon may rely on an alteration of post-transcriptional regulation mediated by microRNAs (miRNAs), whose functional alterations are associated with neoplastic transformation. It is also emerging that c-Myc modulates miRNA expression, revealing an intriguing crosstalk between c-Myc and miRNAs.
Here, we investigated the expression of miRNAs possibly regulated by c-Myc in BL cases positive or negative for the translocation. A common trend of miRNA expression, with the exception of hsa-miR-9*, was observed in all of the cases. Intriguingly, down-regulation of this miRNA seems to specifically identify a particular subset of BL cases, lacking MYC translocation. Here, we provided evidence that hsa-miR-9-1 gene is heavily methylated in those cases. Finally, we showed that hsa-miR-9* is able to modulate E2F1 and c-Myc expression.
Particularly, this study identifies hsa-miR-9* as potentially relevant for malignant transformation in BL cases with no detectable MYC translocation. Deregulation of hsa-miR-9* may therefore be useful as a diagnostic tool, suggesting it as a promising novel candidate for tumor cell marker.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A particular extra-nodal lymphoma type arises from B cells of the marginal zone (MZ) of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT). The aetiology of MZ lymphomas suggests that they are associated with chronic antigenic stimulation by microbial pathogens, among which Helicobacter pylori-associated gastric MALT lymphoma is the best studied. Recently, MALT lymphomas have been described in the context of chronic conjunctivitis, which can be associated with Chlamydia spp. infection. Studies from Italy showed the presence of Chlamydia psittaci in 87% of ocular adnexal lymphomas (OAL), and C. psittaci has been described in a large part of samples from Austria and Korea as well. However, this finding was not always confirmed by other studies, suggesting that the association with C. psittaci may depend on geographic heterogeneity. Interestingly, none of the studies up to now has been carried out in the African population, where a strong association between infectious agents and the occurrence of human neoplasms has been reported. This study was designed to investigate the possible association of Chlamydia psittaci in cases retrieved from Kenya, compared to cases from Italy. Our results showed that there was a marked variation between the two geographical areas in terms of association with C. psittaci, as 17% (5/30) of the samples from Italy were positive for C. psittaci, whereas no association with this pathogen was observed in any of the African samples (0/9), suggesting that other cofactors may determine the OAL occurrence in those areas. OAL cases are often characterized by down-regulation of p16/INK4a expression and promoter hypermethylation of the p16/INK4a gene. Our results showed a partial methylation of p16/INK4a promoter in C. psittaci-negative cases, whereas no hypermethylation of this gene was found in C. psittaci-positive cases, suggesting that mechanisms other than promoter hypermethylation lead to p16/INK4a silencing in C. psittaci-positive cases. We may conclude that the role of epidemiologic, environmental and genetic factors, must be considered in the aetiology of this disease.