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Keywords:

  • mantle cell lymphoma;
  • cyclin D1;
  • cell cycle;
  • DNA damage

Summary

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a well-defined lymphoid neoplasm characterized by a proliferation of mature B lymphocytes expressing CD5 that may show a spectrum of morphological and phenotypic features broader than initially described. Although some patients may follow an indolent clinical evolution, in most of them the tumour has an aggressive behaviour with poor response to conventional chemotherapy. The genetic hallmark is the t(11;14)(q13;q32) translocation leading to the overexpression of cyclin D1, which is considered the initial oncogenic event. In addition to this translocation, MCL may carry a high number of secondary chromosomal and molecular alterations that target regulatory elements of the cell cycle machinery and senescence (BMI1/INK4/ARF/CDK4/RB1), DNA damage response pathways (ATM/CHK2/p53), and cell survival signals. The knowledge of these mechanisms and their influence on the behaviour of the tumour are facilitating the development of prognostic models with a more precise prediction of the clinical evolution of the patients. This information coupled with the availability of a new generation of innovative drugs targeting basic molecular process of the tumour cells, should facilitate the design of new therapeutic protocols able to overcome the resistance of this aggressive lymphoma to conventional treatments and improve the life expectancy of the patients.