Epstein-barr virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the elderly: what we know so far

Oncologist. 2011;16(1):87-96. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2010-0213. Epub 2011 Jan 6.


Epstein-Barr virus-positive (EBV-positive) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of the elderly is a newly described lymphoproliferative disorder recently included as a "provisional" entity in the most current WHO Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues. The objective of this review is to provide a thorough and current summary of the existing knowledge of this subtype of DLBCL. We will review and discuss the incidence of EBV expression in DLBCL, the pathogenesis behind EBV-driven malignant transformation of B cells, the different EBV latency patterns associated with DLBCL, the distinct pathologic characteristics of EBV-positive DLBCL, the potential predictive and prognostic value of EBV tumoral status in patients with DLBCL, and potential strategies for the treatment of this rare entity, which is characterized by a suboptimal response to therapy and poor survival rate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cell Transformation, Viral
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / pathology*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / virology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / virology*
  • Prognosis