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World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Aug 28;20(32):11054-61. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i32.11054.

Hepatitis C virus and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: Pathogenesis, behavior and treatment.

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Carlo Visco, Silvia Finotto, Department of Hematology and Cell Therapy, San Bortolo Hospital, 36100 Vicenza, Italy.


A significant association between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and B-cell lymphoma has been reported by epidemiological studies, most of them describing a strong relationship between indolent lymphomas and HCV. Furthermore, the curative potential of antiviral therapy on HCV related indolent lymphomas supports a specific role for the virus in lymphomagenesis. These observations are reinforced by numerous laboratory experiments that led to several hypothetical models of B-cell transformation by HCV. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common lymphoma subtype in the western countries, has been associated to HCV infection despite its aggressive nature. This association seems particularly prominent in some geographical areas. Clinical presentation of HCV-associated DLBCL has consistently been reported to differ from the HCV-negative counterpart. Nevertheless, histopathology, tolerance to standard-of-care chemo-immunotherapy (R-CHOP or CHOP-like regimens) and final outcome of HCV-positive DLBCL patients is still matter of debate. Addition of rituximab has been described to enhance viral replication but the probability of severe hepatic complications remains low, with some exceptions (i.e., hepatitis B virus or immune immunodeficiency virus co-infected patients, presence of grade > 2 transaminases elevation, cirrhosis or hepatocarcinoma). HCV viral load in this setting is not necessarily directly associated with liver damage. Overall, treatment of HCV associated DLBCL should be performed in an interdisciplinary approach with hepatologists and hematologists with close monitoring of liver function. Available reports reveal that the final outcome of HCV-positive DLBCL that receive standard immunochemotherapy is not inferior to their HCV-negative counterpart. This review summarizes data on epidemiology, pathogenesis and therapeutic approach on HCV-associated DLBCL. Several issues that are matter of debate like clinical management of patients with transaminase elevation, criteria for discontinuing or starting immuno-chemotherapy, as well as the exact role of monoclonal antibodies will be analyzed.


Antiviral treatment; Cyclophosphamide; Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; Hepatitis C virus; Hydroxydaunorubicin; Immuno-chemotherapy; Liver; Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Prednisolone; Rituximab; Toxicity; Vincristine

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