The WHO Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissue notes instances of Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia (BL) with IG- MYC rearrangement displaying a B-cell precursor immunophenotype (termed herein "preBLL"). To characterize the molecular pathogenesis of preBLL, we investigated 13 preBLL cases (including 1 cell line), of which 12 were analyzable using genome, exome, and targeted sequencing, imbalance mapping, and DNA methylation profiling. In 5 patients with reads across the IG- MYC breakpoint junctions, we found evidence that the translocation derived from an aberrant VDJ recombination, as is typical for IG translocations arising in B-cell precursors. Genomic changes like biallelic IGH translocations or VDJ rearrangements combined with translocation into the VDJ region on the second allele, potentially preventing expression of a productive immunoglobulin, were detected in 6 of 13 cases. We did not detect mutations in genes frequently altered in BL, but instead found activating NRAS and/or KRAS mutations in 7 of 12 preBLLs. Gains on 1q, recurrent in BL and preB lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (pB-ALL/LBL), were detected in 7 of 12 preBLLs. DNA methylation profiling showed preBLL to cluster with precursor B cells and pB-ALL/LBL, but apart from BL. We conclude that preBLL genetically and epigenetically resembles pB-ALL/LBL rather than BL. Therefore, we propose that preBLL be considered as a pB-ALL/LBL with recurrent genetic abnormalities.
Lymphoid Neoplasia, Brief Reports