The translocation t(14;18)(q32;q21) (BCL-2/J(H)) is present in over 80 % of all follicular lymphomas and is detectable in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of healthy individuals. The prevalence of this translocation has not been studied in African Americans (AAs). Given the higher incidence of follicular lymphomas in whites compared to AAs in the United States (USA), we hypothesized that the translocation prevalence in the blood of AAs would be lower. DNA was isolated from PBL from blood samples collected from participants from FL. Polymerase chain reaction was performed on the BCL-2/J(H) major (MBC) and minor breakpoint cluster (mBC) regions. Eight of the 77 (10.4 %) blood samples from AA participants were positive for MBC (95 % CI, 4.6–19.5 %), and three (3.9 %) were positive for mBC (95 % CI, 0.81–10.97 %) of BCL-2/J(H), with a total of 11 (14.3 %) participants with positive samples (95 % CI, 7.35–24.13 %). In 167 white patient samples, 22 (13.2 %; 95 % CI, 8.44–19.26 %) were positive for MBC, and five (3.0 %; 95 % CI, 0.98–6.85 %) were positive for mBC, with a total of 25 (15 %) participants with positive samples (CI, 9.93–21.30 %). The prevalence of t(14;18)(q32;q21) is not significantly different among AAs and whites from the USA. The lower prevalence of follicular lymphomas in AAs compared with whites is likely a result of differences in secondary molecular alterations involved in follicular lymphoma development. This study is the first report of prevalence of t(14;18) in an AA cohort.
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