The Spectrum of Cutaneous Lymphomas in HIV infection: a study of 21 cases

Am J Surg Pathol. 1999 Oct;23(10):1208-16. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199910000-00005.


We studied 21 HIV-associated lymphomas with cutaneous presentation to determine whether they showed features of primary cutaneous lymphoma arising fortuitously or whether they represented the cutaneous involvement of AIDS systemic lymphoma. Besides rare mycosis fungoides (n = 3), which shared typical clinicopathologic lesions, nonepidermotropic large-cell lymphomas (n = 18) were predominant. They frequently presented as a solitary nodule or tumor. Seven of the eight large T-cell lymphomas had a CD30-positive (CD30+) phenotype but did not express ALK protein. Overexpression of p53 protein was observed in six cases. Although EBV-EBER transcripts were detected in two of them, LMP1 protein was absent. Except for their original prevalence, the features of these T-cell CD30+ cutaneous lymphomas were the same as in immunocompetent patients. The 10 B-cell cutaneous lymphoma were immunoblastic or centroblastic lymphomas, with a differential expression of BCL-6 and Syndecan. Four of them expressed CD30, EBER-EBV transcripts, and LMP1 and p53 proteins. This B-cell CD30+ EBV+ phenotype contrasts with cutaneous lymphoma in immunocompetent patients. Human herpesvirus 8 was not involved in lymphomagenesis since its sequences were detected in a single patient with Kaposi's sarcoma and Castleman's disease. These lymphomas occurred in severely immunocompromised patients with a low CD4 count. Death was due to immunodepression rather than to lymphoma spread, suggesting avoiding aggressive immunosuppressive treatment in such patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / metabolism
  • HIV Infections / pathology*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / complications
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / complications
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycosis Fungoides / complications
  • Mycosis Fungoides / metabolism
  • Mycosis Fungoides / pathology*
  • Mycosis Fungoides / virology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Skin Neoplasms / complications
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / virology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Viral