Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of the elderly (EBV[+]DLBCL-E) is classified as a subtype of DLBCL. Until now, its molecular pathogenesis has remained unknown. To identify pathways characteristic of EBV(+)DLBCL-E, gene expression profiling of five EBV(+)DLBCL-E and seven EBV-negative DLBCL (EBV[-]DLBCL) cases was undertaken using human oligonucleotide microarray analysis. Gene set enrichment analysis and gene ontology analysis showed that gene sets of the Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathways were enriched in EBV(+)DLBCL-E cases. To confirm the results of the expression profiles, in vitro analysis was performed. Expression profiling analysis showed that high activation of the JAK-STAT and NF-κB pathways was induced by EBV infection into DLBCL cell lines. Activation of the NF-κB pathway was confirmed in EBV-infected cell lines using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Western blot analysis revealed an increased protein expression level of phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) in an EBV-infected cell line. Protein expression of phosphorylated STAT3 was frequently observed in lymphoma cells of EBV(+)DLBCL-E clinical samples using immunohistochemistry (EBV[+]DLBCL-E: 80.0% [n = 20/25] versus EBV[-]DLBCL: 38.9% [n = 14/36]; P = 0.001). The results of the present study suggest that activation of the JAK-STAT and NF-κB pathways was characteristic of EBV(+)DLBCL-E, which may reflect the nature of EBV-positive tumor cells. Targeting these pathways as therapies might improve clinical outcomes of EBV(+)DLBCL-E.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research