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Hum Pathol. 1997 Mar;28(3):367-74.

AIDS-related primary brain lymphomas: histopathologic and immunohistochemical study of 51 cases. The French Study Group for HIV-Associated Tumors.

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Département de Neuropathologie, INSERM U360, CNRS URA 625, CHU Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


Fifty-one cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related primary brain lymphomas (AR-PBL) were investigated for clinical characteristics; human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated disorders; histopathologic features; immunophenotype; Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection; and, when frozen tissue was available, oncogene rearrangements. AR-PBL occurred late in the course of AIDS and were usually associated with other systemic or cerebral disorders and with a low level of CD4 lymphocytes. All cases were high grade lymphomas according to the Working Formulation or updated Kiel classification, and often displayed a multifocal pattern. Thirty cases were classified as immunoblastic with plasmacytic differentiation, 18 cases were large cell lymphomas with an immunoblastic component or centroblastic polymorphic lymphomas, and 2 were small noncleaved non-Burkitt lymphomas (Working Formulation). This latter category is classified as Burkitt's-like lymphoma in the REAL nomenclature. One case could not be classified because of necrosis. AR-PBL showed a high level expression of activation and adhesion molecules. The presence of EBV was detected in most cases, and, when PCR was used, this was a constant finding. bcl-2 oncoprotein and latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) were strongly expressed. None of the tested cases expressed p53, or were rearranged for bcl-2 or c-myc oncogenes. This study confirms the immunophenotypic specificity of AR-PBL, which may reflect the special immune status of the brain.

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