Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in the elderly has rarely been reported. This study aimed to explore the clinical characteristics and prognosis of this entity.
In situ hybridization (ISH) analysis of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and immunohistochemistry was performed in 230 tumor specimens from consecutive de novo DLBCL patients over 50 years old. A matched-case control analysis (1:3) was utilized to compare EBV-positive and EBV-negative DLBCL in the elderly.
A total of 16 patients (7.0%) were diagnosed with EBV-positive DLBCL. Of these 16 cases, the median age was 62 years, with a male to female ratio of 11:5. Elderly EBV-positive DLBCL patients had a higher incidence of non-germinal center B-cell (non-GCB) subtypes (87.5%) and high Ki67 (75%) and CD30 expression (93.8%). For EBV-positive patients undergoing initial chemotherapy, 7 of 16 (43.8%) had complete remission, 2 (12.5%) had partial remission, 2 (12.5%) had stable disease, and 5 (31.3%) had progressive disease. The median overall survival was 9 months for the EBV-positive patients. A matched-case control analysis suggested that EBV-positive patients had inferior survival outcomes compared with EBV-negative patients (3-year progression-free survival [PFS]: 25% vs. 76.7%, respectively; 3-year overall survival [OS]: 25% vs. 77.4%, respectively; P<0.001).