Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated polymorphic lymphoproliferative disorders Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell


  • The majority of AIDS-related non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are clinically aggressive monoclonal B-cell Burkitt's lymphomas, large cell lymphomas, or immunoblastic lymphomas. In contrast, the lymphoid proliferations arising in solid organ transplant recipients, collectively referred to as posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorders (PT-LPDs), represent a clinically and histopathologically heterogeneous group of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-driven B-cell proliferations of variable clonal composition. During a retrospective histopathologic review of lymphoid proliferations associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection we identified 10 cases that morphologically resemble the polymorphic PT-LPDs. They arose in lymph nodes (five), lungs (two), and the parotid gland, perineum, and skin (one each). They exhibit a diffuse growth pattern and are composed of a polymorphic lymphoid cell population exhibiting a variable degree of plasmacytic differentiation, cytologic atypia, and numbers of atypical immunoblasts. A clonal B-cell population was detected by immunoglobulin heavy and light chain gene rearrangement and/or EBV terminal repeat analysis in 8 of the 10 (80%) cases by Southern blotting. The nongermline hybridizing bands were usually faint, however, suggesting that the clonal B-cell population represented only a subpopulation within the polymorphic lesion. Strong clonal rearrangement bands were present in one case in which there was clear morphologic evidence of transformation to diffuse large cell lymphoma. This case exhibited C-MYC, BCL-6, and p53 gene mutations. One other case exhibited a p53 gene mutation. The remaining eight cases lacked C-MYC, BCL-6, RAS, and p53 gene alterations. Clonal EBV infection was detected in 4 of the 10 (40%) lesions. Like EBV-containing PT-LPDs, all four EBV-positive HIV-associated polymorphic lesions were associated with type A EBV. The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus was detectable in two cases by polymerase chain reaction analysis, but not by Southern blotting. In situ hybridization demonstrated Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus in some of the cytologically malignant-appearing cells. In conclusion, polymorphic B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders comparable morphologically and molecularly to those arising after solid organ transplantation also occur in association with HIV infection. As in the case of their polymorphic PT-LPD counterparts, their malignant status, biologic significance, and relationship to monomorphic B-cell lymphomas remain to be elucidated.

publication date

  • March 2003



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00000478-200303000-00002

PubMed ID

  • 12604885

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 293

end page

  • 302


  • 27


  • 3