Additional neoplasms and HCV infection in low-grade lymphoma of MALT type


Dr Giuseppe Torelli Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche, Sezione di Ematologia, Policlinico, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy.


Several chronic inflammatory conditions and genetic alterations are likely to be involved in the pathogenesis of low-grade lymphoma of MALT type. In a well-characterized series of 27 patients with low-grade lymphoma of MALT type, we studied: (1) the incidence of other neoplasms, which might be indicative of genetic instability, apparently a characteristic of this disease; (2) the prevalence of serologic and molecular markers of HCV infection, which has been found in association with other lymphoproliferative disorders. Three patients had one or more additional cancers; a total of eight tumours, five of which occurred in the same patient, suggests the presence of some genetic instability in at least some cases of the disease. Rather unexpectedly, anti-HCV antibodies and HCV RNA sequences were documented in 50% of the patients examined, without elevation of serum transaminases. Of interest, the two patients with parotid and conjunctival MALT lymphomas, respectively, with a previous history of Sjögren's syndrome, were HCV positive. We suggest, for the first time, that HCV may be considered, in addition to Helicobacter pylori, as another potential infectious co-factor in the multistep pathogenesis of low-grade lymphomas of MALT type.