Development of Lymphoma in Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS) and its Relationship to Fas Gene Mutations
Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS) is generally the result of a mutation in genes associated with apoptosis, like Fas, Fas ligand, Casp 8 and Casp 10. As a result, the normal homeostasis of T- and B-lymphocytes is disturbed and a proliferation of polyclonal T lymphocytes occurs. This leads to hepatosplenomegaly and lymphadenopathy and in most patients also to autoimmune phenomena like anemia and thrombocytopenia. The proliferating T cells are TCRalphabeta and/or TCRgammadelta positive but lack both CD4 and CD8. Hence they are termed double negative (DN) T cells. In addition, there is an increase of CD5 positive B cells. Individuals with germline mutations in the Fas gene have a high risk to develop non Hodgkin lymphomas (x 14) as well as Hodgkin lymphomas (x 51), in particular NLP Hodgkin lymphoma. Somatic mutations of Fas are frequently acquired during the normal germinal center reaction. Non Hodgkin lymphomas carry somatic mutations of the Fas gene in 11% and of the Casp 10 gene in 14.5% of the patients. In Hodgkin lymphomas, Fas mutations can be demonstrated in Reed-Sternberg cells in 10-20% of the patients. These data implicate a role for Fas-mediated apoptosis in preventing lymphomas. Inherited defects in receptor-mediated lymphocyte apoptosis represent a risk factor for lymphomas and somatic mutations of these genes may also play a role in the development and/or progression of lymphomas.
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