KSHV-positive solid lymphomas represent an extra-cavitary variant of primary effusion lymphoma
Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a unique form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) associated with Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV; HHV-8) that displays a distinct constellation of clinical, morphologic, immunologic, and molecular characteristics. Rare KSHV-containing immunoblastic lymphomas occurring in solid tissues have been described. Whether they represent part of the spectrum of PEL has not been determined. The morphologic, immunophenotypic, and molecular features of KSHV-positive solid lymphomas occurring in 8 HIV+/AIDS patients were systematically investigated and compared with those of 29 similarly analyzed PELs. The 8 KSHV-positive solid lymphomas were virtually indistinguishable from the 29 PELs based on morphology (immunoblastic/anaplastic), immunophenotype (CD45 positive; T cell antigen negative; CD30, EMA, CD138 positive; CD10, CD15, BCL6 negative) and genotype (100% immunoglobulin genes rearranged; no identifiable abnormalities in C-MYC, BCL6, BCL1, BCL2; and uniformly EBV positive). The only identifiable phenotypic difference was that the KSHV-positive solid lymphomas appeared to express B cell-associated antigens (25%) and immunoglobulin (25%) slightly more often than the PELs (<5% and 15%, respectively; P = 0.11 and P = 0.08, respectively). The clinical presentation and course of the patients who develop KSHV-positive solid lymphomas were also similar, except for the lack of an effusion and somewhat better survival (median 11 months vs. 3 months). However, the 3 KSHV-positive solid lymphoma patients alive without disease 11, 25, and 44 months following initial presentation were recently diagnosed patients and, unlike the other patients with KSHV-positive solid lymphomas, received anti-retroviral therapy. These findings strongly suggest that these decidedly rare KSHV-positive solid lymphomas belong to the spectrum of PEL. Therefore, we propose that the KSHV-positive solid lymphomas be designated extra-cavitary PELs.