Epstein-Barr Virus-Positive Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: Is It Different between Over and Under 50 Years of Age?


Department of Pathology and Hematology research center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Background: Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of the elderly is an entity introduced in the latest WHO classification of lymphoid tumors and defined in patients older than 50 years without prior lymphoma or immunodeficiency. However, recently it has also been seen in patients under 50. There is thus debate as to whether these are separate entities. Materials and Methods: In this retrospective study, we analyzed de novo DLBCL admitted to our institute over a period of two years. Clinical data included age, sex, nodal and extranodal presentation. The results of an immunohistochemistry (IHC) panel were also reviewed. IHC findings were mainly used to sub-classify DLBCL as germinal center vs. non germinal center types. IHC for identification of LMP-1 (latent membrane protein) and in situ hybridization for detection of EBV- encoded RNA (EBER) was performed. EBV prevalence, clinical data and IHC findings were compared between patients under and over 50 years of age. Results: Out of 95 DLBCL, 11.6% were EBV positive (7.5% and 14.5% in the young and old groups). We did not find any significant differences in IHC subclasses and clinical data between EBV positive DLBCL (EBVDLBCL) of young and old groups. Conclusions: EBVDLBCL are not exclusive to patients older than 50 years. With regard to clinical data as well as IHC subclasses, no differences were evident between EBVDLBCL of young and old groups. Our suggestion is to eliminate any cut off age for EBVDLBCL.