Hepatitis C virus within a malignant lymphoma lesion in the course of type II mixed cryoglobulinemia

S. De Vita, D. Sansonno, R. Dolcetti, G. Ferraccioli, A. Carbone, V. Cornacchiulo, G. Santini, M. Crovatto, A. Gloghini, F. Dammacco, M. Boiocchi

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been implicated as the major etiologic factor sustaining B-cell clonal expansion in type II mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC). A putative pathogenetic role of HCV in the development of MC-associated B-cell malignancies has also been speculated. We report for the first time the localization of HCV within a parotid non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) lesion in the course of HCV-related type II essential MC, an important step to implicate any infectious agent in the lymphomagenesis. Plus and minus strand HCV RNA was first demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction on the whole RNA from the lesion. Further immunohistochemical studies localized HCV c22 proteins in the residual ductal or acinar parotid structures, which also abnormally expressed HLA-DR antigens. Weak c22 signals were inconstantly detected in cells strictly confined around the residual epithelium, while all the remaining infiltrating cells in the parotid lesion stained c-22-negative. Staining for c33 and c100 HCV antigens was negative. In situ hybridization (ISH) studies again identified the residual parotid epithelial cells as the site of HCV infection and replication in the NHL lesion. Sialotropic viruses previously involved in lymphoproliferation, is, Epstein-Barr virus and human herpesvirus-6, were absent in the same tissue lesion. According to the current models of B-cell lymphomagenesis, a role of HCV as an exogenous antigenic stimulus should be considered for NHL development in the present case, whereas malignant B cells do not appear permissive of active HCV replication. Further efforts would be worthwhile to clarify o role of HCV infection in the development of some B-cell malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1887-1892
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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