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J Pathol. 1997 Nov;183(3):287-92.

Epstein-Barr virus in B-cell lymphomas associated with chronic suppurative inflammation.

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Department of Histopathology, UCL Medical School, London, U.K.


Chronic antigenic stimulation is considered to play an important role in neoplastic lymphoid transformation. This paper describes three cases of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs) associated with long-standing chronic suppuration. Two were primary bone lymphomas associated with long-standing chronic osteomyelitis and one was a primary skin lymphoma associated with chronic venous ulcers with a latent period of 13 years. All were diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, with plasmacytoid differentiation in two cases. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded RNAs were demonstrated in virtually all tumour cells in all cases by in situ hybridization. Immunohistochemistry revealed EBV-encoded latent membrane protein (LMP)-1 expression in one case and BZLF1 protein expression in all three cases, whilst the EBV-encoded nuclear antigen (EBNA)-2 was not detected. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) sequences were absent in two cases studied. Our cases show similarities with pyothorax-associated pleural lymphomas reported mainly from Japan and recently from France, which are invariably associated with EBV. These findings suggest a causal effect of EBV in the development of this type of lymphoma complicating long-standing chronic suppuration. Localized immunodepression induced by chronic inflammation or immunosuppressive cytokines may favour the clonal proliferation of EBV-infected B cells.

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