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Mature T-cell lymphomas (TCLs) are rare, clinically heterogeneous hematologic cancers with high medical need. TCLs have an inferior prognosis which is attributed to poor understanding of their pathogenesis. On the basis of phenotypic similarities between normal and neoplastic lymphocytes, it has been assumed that TCLs develop in the periphery, directly from various subtypes of normal T cells. To address the debated question of the cell of origin in TCLs, we attempted to identify the highly variable complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) of T-cell receptors (TCRs) to trace the clonal history of the T cells. We have collected previously published whole-genome, whole-exome, and whole-transcriptome sequencing data from 574 patients with TCL. TCR clonotypes were identified by de novo assembly of CDR3 regions of TCRα, TCRβ, and TCRγ. We have found that the vast majority of TCLs are clonotypically oligoclonal, although the pattern of oligoclonality varied. Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma was the most diverse comprising multiple clonotypes of TCRα, TCRβ, and TCRγ, whereas adult TCL or leukemia and peripheral TCLs often showed monoclonality for TCRβ and TCRγ but had diverse TCRα clonotypes. These patterns of rearrangements indicated that TCLs are initiated at the level of the lymphoid precursor. In keeping with this hypothesis, TCR rearrangements in TCLs resembled the pattern seen in the human thymus, which showed biased usage of V (variable) and J (joining) segments of high combinatorial probability resulting in recurrent public CDR3 sequences shared across unrelated patients and different clinical TCL entities. Clonotypically diverse initiating cells may seed target tissues that are then responsible for disease relapses after therapy. © 2022 by The American Society of Hematology. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), permitting only noncommercial, nonderivative use with attribution. All other rights reserved.


Aishwarya Iyer, Dylan Hennessey, Robert Gniadecki. Clonotype pattern in T-cell lymphomas map the cell of origin to immature lymphoid precursors. Blood advances. 2022 Apr 12;6(7):2334-2345

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PMID: 35015812

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