Primary effusion-based lymphoma (EBL) presents as a malignant effusion in a body cavity. The clinicopathologic features and prognosis of primary human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8)-negative EBL remain unclear. We therefore conducted a retrospective study of 95 patients with EBL, regardless of HHV8 status, in Japan. Of 69 patients with EBL tested for HHV8, a total of 64 were negative. The median age of patients with primary HHV8-negative EBL at diagnosis was 77 years (range, 57-98 years); all 58 tested patients were negative for HIV. Primary HHV8-negative EBL was most commonly diagnosed in pleural effusion (77%). Expression of at least 1 pan B-cell antigen (CD19, CD20, or CD79a) was observed in all cases. According to the Hans algorithm, 30 of the 38 evaluated patients had nongerminal center B-cell (non-GCB) tumors. Epstein-Barr virus-encoded small RNA was positive in 6 of 45 patients. In 56 of 64 HHV8-negative patients, systemic therapy was initiated within 3 months after diagnosis. Cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone (CHOP) or CHOP-like regimens with or without rituximab (n 5 48) were the most common primary treatments. The overall response and complete response rates were 95% and 73%, respectively. Three patients did not progress without systemic treatment for a median of 24 months. With a median 25-month follow-up, the 2-year overall survival and progression-free survival rates were 84.7% and 73.8%. Sixteen patients died; 12 were lymphoma-related deaths. Thus, most EBL cases in Japan are HHV8-negative and affect elderly patients. The non-GCB subtype is predominant. Overall, primary HHV8-negative EBL exhibits a favorable prognosis after anthracycline-based chemotherapy.
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