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Ann Oncol. 2006 Sep;17(9):1434-40. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

Distinctive natural history in hepatitis C virus positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: analysis of 156 patients from northern Italy.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Ospedale S. Bortolo, Vicenza, Italy.



Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) has been correlated to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in few series, but characteristics and outcome of these patients remain undefined.


We analyzed 156 previously untreated consecutive HCV-positive patients with DLBCL observed between 1994 and 2004 in three major institutions from northern Italy.


Median age at presentation was 63 years and 8% of patients had DLBCL transformed from low-grade lymphomas. Spleen was the most frequently involved extranodal site, followed by liver and stomach. Treatment was delivered with cure-intent in 132 patients, while the remaining 24 patients received monochemotherapy or radiotherapy alone due to old age or seriously impaired hepatic function. Only five patients (4%) had to discontinue chemotherapy due to severe liver function impairment. The addition of rituximab did not seem to affect patients' tolerance to treatment. Five-year overall survival of the entire cohort was 72%, while 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) of the 132 patients treated with cure-intent was 51%. Hepatitis B virus co-infection, advanced Ann Arbor stage and nodal origin of the tumor resulted the strongest adverse prognostic factors.


Patients with HCV-positive DLBCL share distinctive clinical features. Future studies should prospectively evaluate the association between HCV and aggressive lymphomas.

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