Anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCLs) are CD30-positive T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas broadly segregated into ALK-positive and ALK-negative types. Although ALK-positive ALCLs consistently bear rearrangements of the ALK tyrosine kinase gene, ALK-negative ALCLs are clinically and genetically heterogeneous. About 30% of ALK-negative ALCLs have rearrangements of DUSP22 and have excellent long-term outcomes with standard therapy. To better understand this group of tumors, we evaluated their molecular signature using gene expression profiling. DUSP22-rearranged ALCLs belonged to a distinct subset of ALCLs that lacked expression of genes associated with JAK-STAT3 signaling, a pathway contributing to growth in the majority of ALCLs. Reverse-phase protein array and immunohistochemical studies confirmed the lack of activated STAT3 in DUSP22-rearranged ALCLs. DUSP22-rearranged ALCLs also overexpressed immunogenic cancer-testis antigen (CTA) genes and showed marked DNA hypomethylation by reduced representation bi-sulfate sequencing and DNA methylation arrays. Pharmacologic DNA demethylation in ALCL cells recapitulated the overexpression of CTAs and other DUSP22 signature genes. In addition, DUSP22-rear-ranged ALCLs minimally expressed PD-L1 compared with other ALCLs, but showed high expression of the costimulatory gene CD58 and HLA class II. Taken together, these findings indicate that DUSP22 rearrangements define a molecularly distinct subgroup of ALCLs, and that immunogenic cues related to antigenicity, costimulatory molecule expression, and inactivity of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint likely contribute to their favorable prognosis. More aggressive ALCLs might be pharmacologically reprogrammed to a DUSP22-like immunogenic molecular signature through the use of demethylating agents and/or immune checkpoint inhibitors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology