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Pathol Int. 2008 Apr;58(4):209-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1827.2008.02213.x.

Proposed categorization of pathological states of EBV-associated T/natural killer-cell lymphoproliferative disorder (LPD) in children and young adults: overlap with chronic active EBV infection and infantile fulminant EBV T-LPD.

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Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan.


EBV-associated T/natural killer (NK)-cell lymphoproliferative disorder (EBV-T/NK LPD) of children and young adults is generally referred to with the blanket nosological term of severe chronic active EBV infection (CAEBV). This disease is rare, associated with high morbidity and mortality, and appears to be more prevalent in East Asian countries. But because there is no grading or categorization system for CAEBV, pathologists and clinicians often disagree regarding diagnosis and therapy. EBV-T/NK LPD includes polyclonal, oligoclonal, and monoclonal proliferation of cytotoxic T and/or NK cells. Moreover, a unique disease previously described as infantile fulminant EBV-associated T-LPD has been identified and overlaps with EBV-T/NK LPD. In the present review a clinicopathological categorization of EBV-T/NK LPD is proposed, based on pathological evaluation and molecular data, as follows: (i) category A1, polymorphic LPD without clonal proliferation of EBV-infected cells; (ii) category A2, polymorphic LPD with clonality; (iii) category A3, monomorphic LPD (T-cell or NK cell lymphoma/leukemia) with clonality; and (iv) category B, monomorphic LPD (T-cell lymphoma) with clonality and fulminant course. Categories A1, A2, and A3 possibly constitute a continuous spectrum and together are equivalent to CAEBV. Category B is the exact equivalent of infantile fulminant EBV-associated T-LPD. It is expected that this categorization system will provide a guide for the better understanding of this disorder. This proposal was approved at the third meeting of the Asian Hematopathology Association (Nagoya, 2006).

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