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Tumor-Tissue Expression of the Hyaluronic Acid Receptor RHAMM Predicts Histological Transformation in Follicular Lymphoma Patients

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Histological transformation (HT) remains the leading cause of mortality in follicular lymphoma (FL), underlining the need to identify reliable transformation predictors. The hyaluronic acid receptors CD44 and the receptor for hyaluronan mediated motility (RHAMM, also known as HMMR and CD168), have been shown to be involved in the pathogeneses of both solid tumors and hematological malignancies. In an attempt to improve risk stratification, expression of RHAMM and CD44 were evaluated by immunohistochemistry and digital image analysis in pre-therapeutic tumor-tissue biopsies from FL patients, either without (nt-FL, n = 34), or with (st-FL, n = 31) subsequent transformation, and in paired biopsies from the transformed lymphomas (tFL, n = 31). At the time of initial diagnosis, samples from st-FL patients had a higher expression of RHAMM compared with samples from nt-FL patients (p < 0.001). RHAMM expression further increased in tFL samples following transformation (p < 0.001). Evaluation of CD44 expression showed no differences in expression comparing nt-FL, st-FL, and tFL samples. Shorter transformation-free survival was associated with high tumoral and intrafollicular RHAMM expression, as well as with low intrafollicular CD44 expression (p = 0.002, p < 0.001, and p = 0.034, respectively). Our data suggest that high tumor-tissue RHAMM expression predicts the risk of shorter transformation-free survival in FL patients already at initial diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1316
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

    Research areas

  • CD44, Follicular lymphoma (FL), Histological transformation (HT), Receptor for hyaluronan mediated motility (RHAMM)

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