CD37 (tetraspanin TSPAN26) is a B-cell surface antigen widely expressed on mature B cells. CD37 is involved in immune regulation and tumor suppression but its function has not been fully elucidated. We assessed CD37 expression in de novo diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and investigated its clinical and biologic significance in 773 patients treated with rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP) and 231 patients treated with CHOP. We found that CD37 loss (CD37-) in ∼60% of DLBCL patients showed significantly decreased survival after R-CHOP treatment, independent of the International Prognostic Index (IPI), germinal center B-cell-like (GCB)/activated B-cell-like (ABC) cell of origin, nodal/extranodal primary origin, and the prognostic factors associated with CD37-, including TP53 mutation, NF-κBhigh, Mychigh, phosphorylated STAT3high, survivinhigh, p63-, and BCL6 translocation. CD37 positivity predicted superior survival, abolishing the prognostic impact of high IPI and above biomarkers in GCB-DLBCL but not in ABC-DLBCL. Combining risk scores for CD37- status and ABC cell of origin with the IPI, defined as molecularly adjusted IPI for R-CHOP (M-IPI-R), or IPI plus immunohistochemistry (IHC; IPI+IHC) for CD37, Myc, and Bcl-2, significantly improved risk prediction over IPI alone. Gene expression profiling suggested that decreased CD20 and increased PD-1 levels in CD37- DLBCL, ICOSLG upregulation in CD37+ GCB-DLBCL, and CD37 functions during R-CHOP treatment underlie the pivotal role of CD37 status in clinical outcomes. In conclusion, CD37 is a critical determinant of R-CHOP outcome in DLBCL especially in GCB-DLBCL, representing its importance for optimal rituximab action and sustained immune responses. The combined molecular and clinical prognostic indices, M-IPI-R and IPI+IHC, have remarkable predictive values in R-CHOP-treated DLBCL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology