Primary plasmablastic lymphoma of the gastrointestinal tract: A series of 13 HIV-negative cases and a review of literature

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Annals of Diagnostic Pathology


Context: Primary gastrointestinal plasmablastic lymphoma (GI-PBL) is a rare variant of diffuse B-cell lymphoma with an aggressive clinical course. PBL was initially reported among HIV-positive patients; however, subsequent studies have shown that it also occurs among HIV-negative patients. Its clinical characteristics remain poorly understood. This study aims to retrospectively analyze the clinicopathological findings of primary GI-PBLs in HIV-negative patients. Design: Primary HIV-negative GI-PBL cases from 2008 to 2022 were reviewed. Clinicopathologic features and outcomes were analyzed. Results: The cohort of 13 patients had a male-to-female ratio of 9:1 (3 patients' genders not available), with an average age of 61 (range, 30–92) years. The most involved location was the colon (n = 7 [53.8 %]), followed by the small bowel (n = 3 [23.1 %]), stomach (n = 2 [15.4 %]), rectum (n = 1 [7.7 %]), and anus (n = 1 [7.7 %]). Most patients (n = 10 [77 %]) showed isolated GI tract involvement. Eight patients had chronic inflammatory and/or immunocompromised status, including 4 with inflammatory bowel disease (all of whom underwent treatment), 3 with post–organ transplant status, and 1 with irritable bowel syndrome. All cases exhibited cytokeratin-/CD20-/PAX-5-/CD138+ and/or MUM1+ immunophenotype. Based on available data, 8 of 11 (72.7 %) patients had Epstein-Barr virus reactivation. Among 11 patients with follow-up data, the mean follow-up duration was 13.5 (range, 3–40) months; at the end of follow-up, 45.5 % of patients (5 of 11 patients) showed complete remission after chemotherapy. Conclusion: Primary HIV-negative GI-PBL occurs predominantly in the colon of relatively elderly males with immunosuppression. Its clinical course can be heterogenous, presenting a comorbidity with inflammatory bowel disease or post–organ transplantation status.

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