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Ann Oncol. 1998 May;9(5):495-8.

Clinico-pathological characterization of hepatitis C virus-related B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas without symptomatic cryoglobulinemia.

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  • 1Department of Medical Sciences, University of Modena, Italy.



Epidemiological evidence has suggested an association between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and B-cell lymphoproliferation. We studied the prevalence of HCV infection in a series of de novo B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (B-NHL) cases and correlated virological findings with clinico-histological features.


One hundred fifty-seven patients with de novo B-NHL were included in the study. Their serum was examined by ELISA and RIBA for the presence of anti-HCV antibodies, and either the peripheral blood mononuclear cells or the pathology tissues of all of the patients were examined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for the presence of HCV RNA sequences.


HCV infection occurred in 22.3% of B-NHL patients and was documented before the diagnosis in about half of the positive cases. Of interest, HCV infection was more frequently found in follicular center, marginal zone and diffuse large-cell lymphoma types, but was not associated with symptomatic cryoglobulinemia. The median survival time was 48 months in HCV-positive and 52 months in HCV-negative B-NHL patients.


Our findings strengthen the pathogenetic link between HCV and B-NHL and show that HCV infection may be associated with the malignant proliferation of defined B-cell subsets other than the immunoglobulin Mk B-cell subset involved in the pathogenesis of mixed cryoglobulinemia type II and associated lymphoplasmacytoid lymphoma type. HCV-related liver disease did not affect the survival of our B-NHL patients.

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