Alterations in the Rho pathway contribute to Epstein-Barr virus-induced lymphomagenesis in immunosuppressed environments.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive diffuse large B cell lymphomas (EBV+-DLBLs) tend to occur in immunocompromised patients, such as the elderly or those undergoing solid organ transplantation. The pathogenesis and genomic characteristics of EBV+-DLBLs are largely unknown because of the limited availability of human samples and lack of experimental animal models. We observed the development of 25 human EBV+-DLBLs during the engraftment of gastric adenocarcinomas into immunodeficient mice. An integrated genomic analysis of the human-derived EBV+-DLBLs revealed enrichment of mutations in Rho pathway genes, including RHPN2, and Rho pathway transcriptomic activation. Targeting the Rho pathway using a ROCK inhibitor, fasudil, markedly decreased tumor growth in EBV+-DLBL patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. Thus, alterations in the Rho pathway appear to contribute to EBV-induced lymphomagenesis in immunosuppressed environments. Blood 2018 Feb 23 [Epub ahead of print]