Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL) and nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) are considered separate entities with different prognosis and treatment. However, morphologic features can be similar and immunohistochemical studies are essential in the distinction; thus, determination of additional biomarkers is of utmost importance. LRF/Pokemon is a proto-oncogene, an interacting partner co-expressed with BCL6 in germinal centers and highly expressed in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. Conversely, loss of the LRF gene in mouse hematopoietic stem cells results in complete block of early B cell development with concomitant Notch de-repression, indicating its critical role in B versus T cell fate decision at the hematopoietic stem cell stage. For the first time, we show that LRF/Pokemon is predominantly expressed in NLPHL cases as is BCL6 with low to absent NOTCH1 protein expression; while Hodgkin Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells in CHL show low to absent BCL6 and LRF/Pokemon expression with higher NOTCH1 expression. We illustrate a potential functional interaction between LRF and BCL6 in NLPHL pathogenesis, and differential expression of LRF/Pokemon and NOTCH1 proteins in CHL thus showing differential expression, making for an additional diagnostic marker and therapeutic target.
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