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Ann Ital Med Int. 1999 Oct-Dec;14(4):288-93.

The relationship between splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma and chronic liver disease associated with hepatitis C virus infection.

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II Divisione di Medicina Generale, Ospedale San Martino.


An etiologically important role has been suggested for hepatitis C virus infection in the development of low-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, such as splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma. We present a study of 3 patients with splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma and chronic hepatitis C, and describe clinical, histologic, and immunohistochemical features and the response to therapy in these cases. All 3 patients underwent splenectomy, polychemotherapy and alpha-interferon therapy. The first patient achieved complete remission; the second died of hepatic failure and anasarca 3 months after admission; as this writing, the third remains in complete remission 4.5 years after diagnosis. In the second patient, a long latency period of chronic hepatitis C virus infection was observed. Our data indicate that when early detection of the disease is possible, splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma has a relatively favorable prognosis. Our results could furthermore suggest an etiologic role for hepatitis C virus infection in the development of splenic B-cell lymphoma through multistep cooperating events. A fuller understanding of the virus-related mechanisms of lymphoproliferation could contribute significantly to the development of new therapeutic strategies.

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