Int J Med Sci 2022; 19(2):225-232. doi:10.7150/ijms.65517 This issue

Research Paper

Loss of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine as a Poor Prognostic Factor for Primary Testicular Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma

Ye Shen*, Lihong Wang*, Jinping Ou, Bingjie Wang, Xinan Cen

Department of Hematology, Peking University First Hospital, No. 8, Xishiku Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, China, 100034.
*Ye Shen and Lihong Wang contributed equally to this manuscript

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Shen Y, Wang L, Ou J, Wang B, Cen X. Loss of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine as a Poor Prognostic Factor for Primary Testicular Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma. Int J Med Sci 2022; 19(2):225-232. doi:10.7150/ijms.65517. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Background: 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC), a stable epigenetic marker, is closely related to tumor staging, recurrence and survival, but the prognostic value of 5-hmC in primary testicular diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (PT-DLBCL) remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the 5-hmC expression in PT-DLBCL and evaluate its prognostic value.

Methods: A total of 34 patients with PT-DLBCL treated in the Department of Hematology from August 2000 to August 2020 were included in this study. The expression of 5-hmC in PT-DLBCL tissues and normal testicular tissues were assessed by immunohistochemistry. 5-hmC staining is estimated as a percentage under every nuclear staining intensity score (0-3), 0 or 1 of which were regarded as 5-hmC reduction. The quantification of 5-hmC reduction is defined as the percentage of cells with 5-hmC staining scores of 0 and 1. According 5-hmC reduction of 80%, a 5-hmC reduction of <80% is regarded as "5-hmC high-level group", and a 5-hmC reduction of ≥80% is regarded as "5-hmC low-level group". Furthermore, Cox regression model was used to evaluate the prognostic value of all covariates.

Results: The median percentage of 5-hmC reduction in the PT-DLBCL group was 77.50% (60%-90%), the median 5-hmC reduction in the normal testicular tissues was 30% (20%-50%). Compared with normal testicular tissue, 5-hmC levels in PT-DLBCL tissue were significantly decreased (p<0.05). Of the 34 PT-DLBCL patients, 17 had tumors with relatively low 5-hmC expression (5-hmC reduction of ≥80%) and 17 had tumors with relatively high 5-hmC expression (5-hmC reduction of < 80%). 5-hmC expression was negatively correlated with international prognostic index (p = 0.037), while there was no significant difference in 5-hmC decrease among different groups of age at diagnosis, lactate dehydrogenase, testicular lymphoma involvement (unilateral or bilateral), Ki-67 and tumor diameter. Relatively low 5-hmC expression indicated shorter overall survival (OS) (5-year OS 50.2% vs 81.3%, p=0.022) and progression-free survival (PFS) (5-year PFS 38.5% vs 70.7%, p=0.001). Cox multivariate analysis of IPI (2-3 vs. 0-1), intrathecal prophylaxis (No vs. Yes), and 5-hmC reduction (≥80% vs. <80%) showed that 5-hmC reduction ≥80% (hazard ratio: 7.252, p = 0.005) and not receiving intrathecal prophylaxis (hazard ratio: 7.207, p =0.001) are independent risk factors for poor prognosis of PT-DLBCL.

Conclusion: Our results suggested that 5-hmC decline can be identified as a poor prognostic predictor for PT-DLBCL. It is necessary to further explore the underlying mechanism of this epigenetic marker to identify methods to re-establish 5-hmC levels and provide new targets for cancer therapy.

Keywords: 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, prognostic factor, primary testicular diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, immunohistochemistry.