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Acta Cytol. 2004 May-Jun;48(3):425-30.

Human herpesvirus 8 in primary effusion lymphoma in an HIV-seronegative male. A case report.

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Department of Pathology, Rambam Medical Center, Electron Microscopy Unit, Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.



AIDS-related body cavity-based lymphoma, or primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), is a distinct clinicopathologic entity that occurs predominantly in immunosuppressed patients infected with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Although it rarely occurs in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative patients, we report such a case here.


A 74-year-old male, who was HIV and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) negative, was admitted to the hospital with dyspnea and chest pain. Chest radiography and computed tomography showed right pleural effusion. Cytologic analysis of the pleural effusion revealed a high grade lymphoma with round nuclei, prominent nucleoli and abundant cytoplasm. Polymerase chain reaction performed on the pleural effusion was positive for HHV-8 and negative for EBV. On molecular studies, the immunoglobulin heavy and kappa light chains were rearranged. Flow cytometry revealed a hyperploid fraction with DNA index of 1.29 expressing CD30. Immunostaining for HHV-8 from a cell block was positive. Electron microscopy revealed lymphomalike cells, many in various stages of apoptosis, with large nucleoli and clusters of viruslike particles in the nucleoplasm.


A firm diagnosis of PEL can be established by the examination of cells from the lymphomatous effusion by a combination of cytology, molecular genetics, phenotypic features, immunostaining and electron microscopy. To our knowledge, this is the first case in which immunostaining for anti-HHV-8 monoclonal antibodies was used to support the diagnosis.

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