Expression of c‐myc and c‐ras oncogenes in the neoplastic and non‐neoplastic cells of Hodgkin's disease

D. Benharroch, T. Yermiahu, D. B. Geffen, I. Prinsloo, J. Gopas, S. Segal, M. Aboud

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Abstract: The oncogenes c‐myc and c‐ras are known to elicit a cooperative tumorigenicity. In this study we investigated their role in the pathogenesis of Hodgkin's disease. The expression of these oncogenes was determined in Hodgkin's disease patients by avidin‐biotin peroxidase complex immunohistochemical staining and was compared to their expression in patients with non‐Hodgkin's lymphomas and inflammatory reactive lymph nodes. Of 29 examined patients with different histological types of Hodgkin's disease, 21 (72.4%) showed an elevated expression of c‐myc and 28 (96.5%) of c‐ras. Although this expression was marked especially in the neoplastic Reed‐Sternberg cells, it was also noted in the numerous reactive cells present in the involved lymph nodes. By contrast, a much lower frequency of increased expression of these oncogenes was recorded in 19 patients with different grades of non‐Hodgkin's lymphoma and in 29 patients with inflammatory reactive lymph nodes. The elevated expression of c‐myc and c‐ras in the neoplastic Reed‐Sternberg cells may reflect an oncogenic event that directly activates these genes. However, their increased expression in the surrounding non‐neoplastic cells probably results from signal transduction induced by certain growth‐promoting factors possibly released by the Reed‐Sternberg cells and that act paracrinally to stimulate the proliferation of the neighboring cells. Furthermore, the continuous c‐ras elevation may impair the normal cell cycle control and thereby promote mutagenesis and overt malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-183
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Haematology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • Hodgkin's disease
  • c‐myc oncogene
  • c‐ras oncogene
  • immunohistochemical staining


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