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Blood. 2006 Apr 15;107(8):3034-44. Epub 2006 Jan 5.

Infection-associated lymphomas derived from marginal zone B cells: a model of antigen-driven lymphoproliferation.

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Department of Hematology, Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, René Descartes-Paris 5 University Medical School, 75743 Paris Cedex 15, France.


Non-Hodgkin lymphomas develop from nodal and extranodal lymphoid tissues. A distinct subset of extranodal lymphomas arising from B cells of the marginal zone (MZ) of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) or spleen has been individualized. Growing evidence indicates that MZ lymphomas are associated with chronic antigenic stimulation by microbial pathogens and/or autoantigens. The list of microbial species associated with MZ lymphoproliferations has grown longer with molecular investigations and now comprises at least 5 distinct members: H. pylori, C. jejuni, B. burgdorferi, C. psittaci, and hepatitis C virus (HCV), which have been associated with gastric lymphoma, immunoproliferative small intestinal disease, cutaneous lymphoma, ocular lymphoma, and spleen lymphoma, respectively. A pathophysiologic scenario involving chronic and sustained stimulation of the immune system leading to lymphoid transformation has emerged. It defines a distinct category of infection-associated lymphoid malignancies, in which the infectious agent does not directly infect and transform lymphoid cells, as do the lymphotropic oncogenic viruses Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8), and human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1), but rather indirectly increases the probability of lymphoid transformation by chronically stimulating the immune system to maintain a protracted proliferative state.

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