Chlamydophila psittaci is viable and infectious in the conjunctiva and peripheral blood of patients with ocular adnexal lymphoma: Results of a single-center prospective case-control study

Andrés J M Ferreri, Riccardo Dolcetti, Giuseppina P. Dognini, Lucia Malabarba, Nadia Vicari, Elisa Pasini, Maurilio Ponzoni, Maria Giulia Cangi, Lorenza Pecciarini, Antonio Giordano Resti, Claudio Doglioni, Silvano Rossini, Simone Magnino

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Ocular adnexal MALT lymphoma (OAML) is linked to Chlamydophila psittaci (Cp) infection. Viability and infectivity of Cp, demonstrated by growth in culture, has not been yet investigated in these patients. We conducted a single-center prospective case-control study to assess the prevalence, viability and infectivity of Cp in 20 OAML patients and 42 blood donors registered in a 6-month period. The presence of Cp in conjunctival swabs and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of patients and donors was assessed by TETR-PCR and in vitro cultures. From an epidemiological point of view, OAML patients often resided in rural areas, and reported a history of chronic conjunctivitis and prolonged contact with household animals (85% vs. 38% of donors; p = 0.00001). Cp was detected in lymphoma tissue in 15 (75%) patients. Cp DNA was detected in conjunctival swabs and/or PBMC from 10 (50%) patients and in PBMC from 1 (2%) donor (p = 0.01). Viability and infectivity of Cp, demonstrated by growth in culture, were confirmed in conjunctival swabs and/or PBMC from 5 (25%) patients, but not in donors (p = 0.002). This prospective study demonstrates, for the first time, that Cp present in the conjunctiva and PBMC of OAML patients is capable to grow and be isolated in cell cultures. Cp infection is common in OAML patients and exceptional in blood donors. Epidemiological data of OAML patients (prolonged contact with household animals and chronic conjunctivitis) are consistent with Cp exposure risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1093
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2008



  • Chlamydia
  • Epidemiology
  • MALT lymphoma
  • Ocular adnexal lymphoma
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)

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