Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is an unusual, human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8)-associated type of lymphoma, presenting as lymphomatous effusion in body cavities, without a detectable tumor mass. It primarily affects human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, but has also been described in other immunocompromised individuals. Although PEL is a B-cell lymphoma, the neoplastic cells are usually of the ′null′ phenotype by immunocytochemistry. This report describes a case of PEL with T-cell phenotype in a HIV-negative patient and reviews all the relevant cases published until now. Our patient suffered from cirrhosis associated with Hepatitis β virus (HβV) infection and presented with a large ascitic effusion, in the absence of peripheral lymphadenopathy or solid mass within either the abdomen or the thorax. Paracentesis disclosed large lymphoma cells with anaplastic features consisting of moderate cytoplasm and single or occasionally multiple irregular nuclei with single or multiple prominent nucleoli. Immunocytochemically, these cells were negative for both CD3 and CD20, but showed a positive reaction for T-cell markers CD43 and CD45RO (VCHL-1). Furthermore, the neoplastic cells revealed strong positivity for EMA and CD30, but they lacked expression of ALK-1, TIA-1, and Perforin. The immune status for both HHV-8 and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was evaluated and showed positive immunostaining only for the former. The combination of the immunohistochemistry results with the existence of a clonal rearrangement in the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (identified by PCR), were compatible with the diagnosis of PEL. The presence of T-cell markers was consistent with the diagnosis of PEL with an aberrant T-cell phenotype.
- primary effusion lymphoma