IMP-3 is differentially expressed in normal and neoplastic lymphoid tissue

Rebecca L. King, Theresa Pasha, Michele R. Roullet, Paul J. Zhang, Adam Bagg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


IMP-3 is a member of the insulin-like growth factor II mRNA binding protein (IMP) family of proteins that play a role in RNA trafficking and stabilization and cell growth and migration during embryogenesis but which are down-regulated in adult tissue. However, IMP-3 has recently been shown to be overexpressed in several epithelial malignancies, with increased expression correlating with aggressive behavior. To our knowledge, there is no published literature evaluating IMP-3 in lymphoid tissue. Accordingly, we immunohistochemically evaluated IMP-3 expression in normal lymphoid tissue and 141 lymphoid neoplasms. Physiologically, IMP-3 expression was restricted to germinal center B cells. Among lymphoid neoplasms, Hodgkin lymphoma demonstrated the highest percentage of positive cases (26/26, 100%) often with bright staining. Burkitt lymphoma was positive in 10 (83%) of 12 cases with moderate to bright staining. Although follicular lymphoma was also positive in a high percentage of cases (12/15, 80%), the intensity was exclusively weak to moderate. Although 22 (85%) of 26 of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas were positive for IMP-3, there was wide variability in staining intensity, which did not correlate with classification into activated B cell versus germinal center B origin. By contrast, lower proportions (8%-20%) of other non-germinal center B lymphoma subtypes were IMP-3-positive. In conclusion, although IMP-3 expression is seemingly restricted to physiologic germinal center B cells, its expression in lymphomas of germinal center B origin is less robust. However, there does appear to be some association with the latter group of lymphomas, which may prove to have diagnostic or therapeutic relevance as the biologic role of IMP-3 is further elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1699-1705
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • B-cell lymphoma
  • Germinal center
  • IMP-3
  • KOC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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