Get access

Epstein-Barr virus-related lymph node lesion resembling autoimmune disease-like clinicopathological findings in elderly patients Report of three cases


Masaru Kojima, Department of Pathology and Clinical Laboratories, Gunma Cancer Center Hospital, 617-1, Takabayashinishi-cho Ohta, 373-8550, Japan. e-mail:


Three cases of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related lymphoproliferative disorders in elderly patients showing autoimmune disease-associated lymphadenopathy-like clinicopathological findings have been reported. Clinically, they were characterized by systemic lymphadenopathy, “B” symptoms, polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia, elevated serum LDH and transient presence of various autoantibodies, and absence of atypical lymphocytosis in peripheral blood. One case was associated with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. The clinical course was self-limiting. Histologically, they exhibited numerous lymphoid follicles with hyperplastic germinal centers and atypical interfollicular widening with prominent vascular proliferation. In the paracortical area, there was a mixed infiltrate comprising small to medium-sized lymphocytes and plasma cells, and variable numbers of eosinophils and T- and B-immunoblasts. In situ hybridization demonstrated a varying number of EBV-infected lymphocytes in the germinal center as well as in the interfollicular area. Polymerase chain reaction demonstrated that neither clonal rearrangement of T-cell receptor γ-gene nor immunoglobulin heavy-chain rearrangement was detected in two of the cases examined. Although acute EBV infection rarely occurs in older adults, EBV related to reactive lymphoproliferative disorder should be added to the differential diagnosis of autoimmune disease-associated lymphadenopathy and node-based peripheral T-cell lymphoma in elderly patients.