Aims: To investigate the clinicopathological and molecular features of primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) in Taiwan and the association with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV). Methods and results: We investigated retrospectively 26 cases with a median age of 76.5. Only one (4%) patient was infected with HIV. Cytologically, all lymphoma cells revealed typical immunoblastic to plasmablastic morphology. Immunohistochemically, HHV8 was positive in eight (32%) tumours and negative in 17 (68%) cases. All 23 tested cases examined were of the non-germinal-centre B cell phenotype. MYC proto-oncogene (MYC) and Epstein–Barr encoding mRNA (EBER) were positive in 43% (nine of 21) and 17% (four of 23) cases, respectively. Immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH), B cell lymphoma (BCL)2, BCL6 and MYC were rearranged in 71%, 11%, 12% and 18% cases, respectively. By univariate analysis, the overall survival (OS) was associated statistically with MYC expression (P = 0.012) and BCL2 rearrangement (P = 0.035), but not with the others. By multivariate analysis, no factor was statistically significant. Compared to the HHV8-negative cases, the HHV8-positive cases were mainly of the plasmablastic immunophenotype expressing CD30 and CD138, and with a less frequent expression of pan-B cell markers. Conclusions: Apart from the phenotypical difference, our HHV8-positive neoplasms were not distinct from the HHV8-negative group. Literature review of 256 cases, including our cases, revealed that HHV8-positive cases were associated more frequently with HIV and EBV infection, with rare MYC rearrangement, and a poorer prognosis than HHV8-negative cases. We propose to name the HHV8-positive cases as ‘classical’ or ‘type I PEL’ and the HHV8-negative cases as ‘type II PEL’, stressing the similarities and the distinctive features between these two groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas