Haematologica 2017 11 23103(2) 297-303 doi 10.3324/haematol.2017.176511
The prevalence, presenting clinical and pathological characteristics, and outcomes for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that is Epstein-Barr virus positive remain uncertain as does the impact of congenital or iatrogenic immunosuppression. Patients with newly diagnosed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with available tissue arrays were identified from the University of Iowa/Mayo Clinic Molecular Epidemiology Resource. Patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus or who had undergone a prior organ transplant were excluded. Epstein-Barr virus-associated ribonucleic acid testing was performed on all tissue arrays. A history of significant congenital or iatrogenic immunosuppression was determined for all patients. At enrollment, 16 of the 362 (4.4%) biopsies were positive for Epstein-Barr virus. Thirty-nine (10.8%) patients had a significant history of immunosuppression. Patients with Epstein-Barr-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma had no unique clinical characteristics but on pathology exhibited a higher frequency of CD30 positivity (25.0% versus 8.1%, respectively; P<0.01), and non-germinal-center subtype (62.5% versus 34.1%, respectively; P<0.01). No baseline clinical characteristics were associated with a history of immunosuppression. With a median follow up of 59 months, and after adjustment for International Prognostic Index, there was no association of Epstein-Barr virus positivity or immunosuppression with event-free survival at 24 months (odds ratio=0.49; 95% confidence interval: 0.13-1.84 and odds ratio=0.81; 95% confidence interval: 0.37-1.77) or overall survival (hazard ratio=0.86; 95% confidence interval: 0.38-1.97 and hazard ratio=1.00; 95% confidence interval: 0.57-1.74). In contrast to non-Western populations, our North American population had a low prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that did not convey an adverse prognosis. A history of immunosuppression, while known to be a risk factor for the development of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, did not affect subsequent prognosis.