Human herpesvirus 8 in primary effusion lymphoma in an HIV-seronegative male: A case report

Mariana Munichor, Hector Cohen, Ronit Sarid, Irena Manov, Theodore C. Iancu

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BACKGROUND: AIDS-related body cavity-based lymphoma, or primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), is a distinct clinicopathologic entity that occurs predominantly in immunosuppressed patients infected with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Although it rarely occurs in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative patients, we report such a case here. CASE: A 74-year-old male, who was HIV and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) negative, was admitted to the hospital with dyspnea and chest pain. Chest radiography and computed tomography showed right pleural effusion. Cytologic analysis of the pleural effusion revealed a high grade lymphoma with round nuclei, prominent nucleoli and abundant cytoplasm. Polymerase chain reaction performed on the pleural effusion was positive for HHV-8 and negative for EBV. On molecular studies, the immunoglobulin heavy and kappa light chains were rearranged. Flow cytometry revealed a hyperploid fraction with DNA index of 1.29 expressing CD30. Immunostaining for HHV-8 from a cell block was positive. Electron microscopy revealed lymphomalike cells, many in various stages of apoptosis, with large nucleoli and clusters of viruslike particles in the nucleoplasm. CONCLUSION: A firm diagnosis of PEL can be established by the examination of cells from the lymphomatous effusion by a combination of cytology, molecular genetics, phenotypic features, immunostaining and electron microscopy. To our knowledge, this is the first case in which immunostaining for anti-HHV-8 monoclonal antibodies was used to support the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004


  • HIV
  • Herpesvirus 8, human
  • Lymphoma
  • Primary effusion lymphoma


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