Novel research has revealed five genes that could predict progression of B-cell lymphoma, three of which had not been identified in previous studies. The work, titled “Novel prognostic genes of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma revealed by survival analysis of gene expression data” was published on November 18, 2015 in the journal OncoTargets and Therapy.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a frequently occurring form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, accounting for 30%-40% of all non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases. It is an aggressive cancer that typically affects elderly people.
Standard treatment for DLBCL includes R-CHOP, which is a chemotherapy combination that includes cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) with the addition of rituximab (R). Etoposide (Vepesid), can also be added to R-CHOP, creating a drug combination known as R-EPOCH. Although the treatments induce substantial improvement of survival and are effective for halting disease progression, treatments targeting specific DLBCL subtypes could further improve therapy. Researchers have argued that different DLBCL subtypes are in fact distinct diseases, that involve different cellular pathways.
Led by Chenglong Li of the Department of Hematology, Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences & Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, China, the investigators sought to identify genes that could predict the progression of DLBCL. As such, they downloaded five gene expression data sets from the Gene Expression Omnibus database and from these selected two specific datasets. They performed several types of statistical analyses to screen for DLBCL-associated genes.
Initially, they found 78 potential prognostic genes that appeared to be associated with DLBCL. They were able to narrow the list of 78 possible genes to five common prognostic genes. These included LCP2, TNFRSF9, FUT8, IRF4, and TLE1. Of these five, LCP2, FUT8, and TLE1 had not been previously associated as predictors of DLBCL prognosis.
The research might spur on multiple future directions according to the scientists. In their study report, Li and colleagues note “Five prognostic genes of DLBCL were identified in this study. They could not only be used for molecular subtyping of DLBCL but also be potential targets for treatment.”
Subtyping of DLBCL is important, since classifying this type of lymphoma can be challenging and is usually based on clinical information and tumor shape. These methods can be unreliable and leave many individuals without a subtype classification. In addition, understanding possible genetic targets could allow researchers to develop individualized therapies that specifically act to inhibit or promote those genes. Future research should sought to further understand the role of these novel genes in DLBCL.