Infrequent association of Epstein-Barr virus with CD30-positive anaplastic large cell lymphomas from american and asian patients


CD30 (Ki-1)-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma (CD30+ ALCL) is a morphologically and immunophenotypically distinct subset of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Although the presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been well documented in a significant proportion of cases of Hodgkin's disease, another CD30+ malignancy, few studies have examined the association of EBV with CD30+ ALCL. These latter studies have produced conflicting findings. To further investigate the existence of a putative association of EBV with CD30+ ALCL, and whether this association, if present, shows geographic variation, we examined 34 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens from cases of CD30+ ALCL from the United States and Hong Kong. Immunophenotypically, 15 cases were of B lineage, 15 cases were of T lineage, one case expressed both B- and T-cell markers, and three were of null lineage. A highly sensitive in situ hybridization method was performed with use of an antisense oligonucleotide probe to the EBV- encoded RNA (EBER-1). EBV-RNA was identified in 3 of 14 CD30+ ALCL specimens from Hong Kong patients and in 1 of 20 from the American patients. The EBER-1 signal was present in all or virtually all of the tumor cell nuclei in the three EBV-RNA-positive CD30+ ALCL Hong Kong cases, but was only focally present in the single EBV-positive American case. The latent membrane protein-1 (LMP1) of EBV was identified in only one of the four positive cases, a Hong Kong case. Our results suggest that in contrast to Hodgkin's disease, EBV has no significant association with CD30+ ALCL.

Publication Title

American Journal of Surgical Pathology