Background:The clinical presentation of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is different from their HCV-negative counterparts, but the underlying molecular and pathological characteristics are largely under investigated. The virus has a role in lymphomagenesis, as witnessed by the curative potential of antiviral therapy in HCV-related low-grade B-cell lymphomas.Methods:We performed a case-control study including 44 HCV-positive cases of de novo DLBCL, comparing them with 132 HCV-negative patients as controls (ratio 3 to 1). Cases and controls were matched for age, lactate dehydrogenase level and international prognostic index at presentation. Patients were studied by gene expression profiling for cell-of-origin determination and to perform differential expression analysis between groups, fluorescence in-situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry for MYC, BCL2 and BCL6, TP53 mutations, and diagnostic specimens reviewed to exclude transformation from low-grade lymphoma.Results:Compared to the HCV-negative controls, patients with HCV-positive de novo DLBCL had differential expression of genes that regulate innate immune response and modulate apoptotic pathways, have higher proliferative index, and lack BCL2 translocations.Conclusions:HCV-positive DLBCL have distinct molecular and pathological features compared to the HCV-negative counterparts. © 2017 Cancer Research UK. All rights reserved.