Reappraisal of Primary Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)-positive Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma of the Gastrointestinal Tract: Comparative Analysis Among Immunosuppressed and Nonimmunosuppressed Stage I and II-IV Patients


Miyagi S, et al. Am J Surg Pathol 2020.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoproliferation encompasses a broad range of clinicopathologic findings, including specific subtypes, for example, EBV mucocutaneous ulcer. Here we reassessed 36 cases of primary EBV diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (16 men and 20 women; median age, 69.5 y; range, 35 to 84 y), including 8 immunosuppressed patients (Lugano stage II-IV; median age, 74 y), 7 nonimmunosuppressed patients with stage I disease (median age, 69 y), and 21

nonimmunosuppressed patients with stage II-IV disease (median age, 69 y). All immunosuppressed patients exhibited iatrogenic immunodeficiency and an ulcerative appearance, with ulcer sites including the stomach (1 patient), small intestine (6 patients), and rectum (1 patient). Four patients were in the setting of treated lymphoma-associated immunosuppression. Immunosuppressed patients had higher incidences of intestinal involvement (P=0.001) and perforation (n=2) compared with advanced stage nonimmunosuppressed patients. Among nonimmunosuppressed stage I patients, lesions were restricted to the stomach, none showed multiple lesions or elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase, and the overall survival curve plateaued, although it was not statistically significant (P=0.0581). One nonimmunosuppressed stage I patient with a polypoid lesion exhibited spontaneous regression within 2 months after diagnosis, while another with bulky disease pursued an aggressive clinical course. Nonimmunosuppressed stage I cases without bulky masses may be considered EBV mucocutaneous ulcer with local progression. Our results demonstrated that primary EBV gastrointestinal diffuse large B-cell lymphoma could be delineated into 3 groups based on immune status and clinical stage, revealing distinguishing features useful as a pragmatic guide for diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.