Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is a rare but often rapidly fatal form of non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma that arises within the central nervous system (CNS) and has a low propensity to metastasize. We performed immunohistochemistry on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded brain biopsy specimens from 24 patients with PCNSL to investigate the expression of B cell-attracting chemokine 1 (BCA-1, CXCL13), a lymphoid chemokine involved in B-cell compartmental homing within secondary lymphoid organs and recently implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and malignant lymphocyte-mediated diseases. Whereas BCA-1 was not detected in normal human brain, all 24 brain biopsy specimens containing PCNSL were positive for BCA-1. Double immunostaining on selected specimens localized BCA-1 to malignant B lymphocytes and vascular endothelium. In contrast, 2 chemokines implicated particularly in T-cell movement, secondary lymphoid tissue chemokine (SLC, CCL21) and Epstein-Barr virus-induced molecule 1 ligand chemokine (ELC, CCL19), were expressed only by occasional stromal cells in 2 and 4 of the 24 specimens, respectively. Tumor cells stained positively for CXCR5, the primary receptor for BCA-1. In situ hybridization verified the expression of BCA-1 mRNA by malignant B cells, but not vascular endothelium, within the tumor mass, suggesting that vascular endothelial BCA-1 expression may be consequent to transcytosis. In PCNSL, expression of BCA-1 by malignant lymphocytes and vascular endothelium may influence tumor development and localization to CNS.
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