Cellular Classification of AIDS-Related Lymphoma
Pathologically, AIDS-related lymphomas are comprised of a narrow spectrum of histologic types consisting almost exclusively of B-cell tumors of aggressive type. These include the following:
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
- B-cell immunoblastic lymphoma.
- Small noncleaved lymphoma, either Burkitt or Burkitt-like.
All three pathologic types are equally distributed and represent aggressive disease.
AIDS-related lymphomas, though usually of B-cell origin as demonstrated by immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene rearrangement studies, have also been shown to be oligoclonal and polyclonal as well as monoclonal in origin. Although human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does not appear to have a direct etiologic role, HIV infection does lead to an altered immunologic milieu. HIV generally infects T lymphocytes whose loss of regulation function leads to hypergammaglobulinemia and polyclonal B-cell hyperplasia. B cells are not the targets of HIV infection. Instead, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is thought to be at least a cofactor in the etiology of some of these lymphomas. The EBV genome has been detected in varying numbers of patients with AIDS-related lymphomas; molecular analysis suggests that the cells were infected before clonal proliferation began. EBV is detected in 30% of patients with small, noncleaved lymphomas and in 80% of patients with diffuse, large cell lymphomas. The rare, primary effusion lymphoma consistently harbors human herpes virus type-8 and frequently contains EBV. HIV-related T-cell lymphomas have also been identified and appear to be associated with EBV infection.
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- Simonelli C, Spina M, Cinelli R, et al.: Clinical features and outcome of primary effusion lymphoma in HIV-infected patients: a single-institution study. J Clin Oncol 21 (21): 3948-54, 2003. [PUBMED Abstract]
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