Endemic Burkitt lymphoma (eBL) is the most common pediatric cancer in malaria-endemic equatorial Africa and nearly always contains Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), unlike sporadic Burkitt Lymphoma (sBL) that occurs with a lower incidence in developed countries. Given these differences and the variable clinical presentation and outcomes, we sought to further understand pathogenesis by investigating transcriptomes using RNA sequencing (RNAseq) from multiple primary eBL tumors compared to sBL tumors. Within eBL tumors, minimal expression differences were found based on: anatomical presentation site, in-hospital survival rates, and EBV genome type; suggesting that eBL tumors are homogeneous without marked subtypes. The outstanding difference detected using surrogate variable analysis was the significantly decreased expression of key genes in the immunoproteasome complex (PSMB9/beta1i, PSMB10/β2i, PSMB8/beta5i, and PSME2/PA28beta) in eBL tumors carrying type 2 EBV compared to type 1 EBV. Secondly, in comparison to previously published pediatric sBL specimens, the majority of the expression and pathway differences was related to the PTEN/PI3K/mTOR signaling pathway and was correlated most strongly with EBV status rather than geographic designation. Third, common mutations were observed significantly less frequently in eBL tumors harboring EBV type 1, with mutation frequencies similar between tumors with EBV type 2 and without EBV. In addition to the previously reported genes, a set of new genes mutated in BL including TFAP4, MSH6, PRRC2C, BCL7A, FOXO1, PLCG2, PRKDC, RAD50, and RPRD2 were identified. Overall, these data establish that EBV, particularly EBV type 1, supports BL oncogenesis alleviating the need for certain driver mutations in the human genome. Implications: Genomic and mutational analyses of Burkitt lymphoma tumors identify key differences based on viral content and clinical outcomes suggesting new avenues for the development of prognostic molecular biomarkers and therapeutic interventions.
- Received September 12, 2016.
- Revision received January 11, 2017.
- Accepted January 12, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.