Microsatellite instability and hMLH1 promoter hypermethylation in Richter's transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Z. Fülöp, B. Csernus, B. Tímár, Á Szepesi, A. Matolcsy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is an indolent B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that may transform into diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBL). This transformation is referred to as Richter's syndrome or transformation. To analyze whether microsatellite instability (MSI) and DNA mismatch repair defects are associated with Richter's transformation, we have performed microsatellite analysis, mutational analysis of hMLH1 and hMSH2 genes and methylation status analysis of CpG island of the hMLH1 promoter on serial biopsy specimens from 19 patients with CLL. Ten cases of CLL showed no histologic alteration in the second biopsy, and nine cases of CLL underwent morphologic transformation to DLBL in the second biopsy. Using eight microsatellite loci, high level of MSI was associated with Richter's transformation in four cases of CLL, but none of the CLLs displayed this level of MSI without transformation. Mutations of the hMLH1 or hMSH2 genes were not detected in any of the lymphoma samples. In five cases of Richter's transformation the hMLH1 promoter was hypermethylated in both CLL and DLBL samples. Hypermethylation of the hMLH1 promoter associated with high-level of MSI in four cases, and low-level of MSI in one case. These results suggest that in certain cases of Richter's transformation the DNA mismatch-repair defect-initiated genetic instability may play a role in tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-415
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Genetic instability
  • Lymphoma transformation
  • Richter's syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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