Plasmablastic lymphoma in HIV-positive patients: an aggressive Epstein-Barr virus-associated extramedullary plasmacytic neoplasm

Am J Surg Pathol. 2005 Dec;29(12):1633-41. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000173023.02724.1f.


AIDS-associated aggressive B-cell lymphomas often have plasmacytoid features. Plasma cell neoplasms in HIV patients were commonly described to have atypical morphology and an aggressive clinical course in the literature. We reviewed 14 cases of neoplasms with marked plasmacytic differentiation in HIV-positive patients to determine their clinicopathologic features. Of these, 13 of 14 had homogeneous morphology and were generally CD45(+), CD20-, PAX-5-, and CD138(+). All were positive for Epstein-Barr virus-encoded RNA (EBER) but lacked EBV late membrane proteins (LMP). Human herpes virus 8 (HHV8) DNA was detected in 6 of 10 cases by nested PCR, but HHV8 latent nuclear antigen (LNA) was absent. The 13 patients ranged in age from 28 to 44 years (median, 41 years) (11 male patients; 2 female patients). All patients had extramedullary and 11 of 13 had extranodal tumor at the initial presentation; 2 had distant marrow involvement. The most commonly involved location was the oral cavity (6 of 13 cases), followed by bone and soft tissue (4 of 13), and the gastrointestinal tract (3 of 13). All 11 patients with follow-up died within 34 months (median, 7 months). The 14th patient who had a nodal disease with more undifferentiated morphology and expression of the HHV8 LNA protein was alive without disease at last follow-up (>72 months), probably representing a novel HHV8(+) lymphoma. We conclude that most plasmacytic tumors in HIV-positive individuals are extramedullary, clinically aggressive EBV(+) tumors identical to plasmablastic lymphoma that does not have the clinical features of plasma cell myeloma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Seropositivity*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / analysis
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / immunology
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / virology*
  • Male
  • Multiple Myeloma / immunology
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / virology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors


  • Antigens, CD
  • DNA, Viral
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens