Plasmablastic lymphoma of the gastrointestinal tract: A rare entity with a dismal prognosis

Indian J Cancer. 2016 Oct-Dec;53(4):529-533. doi: 10.4103/0019-509X.204756.


Introduction: Plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) is a rare and aggressive type of mature B-cell lymphoma, which is usually associated with HIV infection. The most common site of PBL is the oral cavity. Involvement of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is rare, and literature is limited to few case reports and case series.

Aims: To retrospectively analyze the presentation, clinical findings, and outcome of patients presenting to our institute with a diagnosis of PBL involving the GI tract.

Materials and methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted at our institute from February 2008 to January 2015 on consecutive patients presenting with PBL involving the GI tract. The data were compared to various case reports and series published in peer-reviewed journals.

Results: There were four patients diagnosed with PBL of the GI tract; three male and one female. The location of involvement was in the stomach, ileocecal junction, ascending colon, and rectum. Only one patient was HIV-positive and was on combination antiretroviral therapy since 2 years. Among the three immunocompetent patients, only one survived with therapy; however, the patient relapsed within 6 months of completion of treatment.

Conclusion: PBL was seen to have a uniformly aggressive clinical course with poor outcomes even with optimal treatment. The prognosis of immunocompetent patients appears to be worse than that of HIV-AIDS patients. Although the most common histologies seen with GI lymphomas are mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue type lymphomas or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, rarer and more aggressive histologies like PBL need to be kept in mind.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasmablastic Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Plasmablastic Lymphoma / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult