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Keywords:

  • immunohistochemistry;
  • plasmablastic lymphoma;
  • polymerase chain reaction;
  • stomach

Plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) is a rare B-cell neoplasm with an aggressive clinical behavior that predominantly occurs in the oral cavity of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients. However, it has recently been recognized that PBLs can also affect individuals without HIV infection, and suggested that these neoplasms show different clinicopathological characteristics between HIV-positive and -negative patients. Herein we describe a case of gastric PBL in a female HIV-negative patient. The tumor was composed of a diffuse and cohesive proliferation of large neoplastic cells, which resembled immunoblasts or plasmablasts with a starry sky appearance. Immunophenotypically, the neoplastic cells were diffusely positive for CD138, MUM1, IgM, and BOB-1, and negative for CK, LCA, CD3, CD20, CD79a, Pax5, kappa, lambda, CD30, ALK, S-100, HMB-45, MPO, and HHV-8. The MIB-1 index was nearly 100%. Epstein-Barr virus-encoded RNA in situ hybridization was negative. A monoclonal immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangement was detected in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and heteroduplex analyses. A combination of PCR-based analysis of immunoglobulin gene rearrangement and immunohistochemistry can be useful to substantiate the diagnosis by utilizing routine paraffin-embedded tissue sections, because PBL in the setting of extra-oral localization and immunocompetence is a diagnostic challenge, given its rarity, morphology, and absence of CD20 expression.