Clinical implications of hepatitis C virus infection in MALT-type lymphoma of the ocular adnexa

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A pathogenic link between hepatitis C virus (HCV) and MALT-type lymphomas has been suggested. However, studies assessing the role of HCV infection separately in different forms of MALT lymphomas are not available.

Patients and methods

The prevalence and clinical implications of HCV seropositivity were analyzed in 55 patients with ocular adnexa lymphoma (OAL) of MALT-type.


HCV seropositivity was detected in seven (13%) patients. At presentation, HCV infection was significantly associated with concomitant extra-orbital disease, lymph node dissemination and involvement of additional extranodal organs. HCV seropositivity was associated also with a higher relapse rate and worse progression-free survival. In fact, 16 patients experienced relapse after first-line treatment: five (71%) were HCV-seropositive and 11 (23%) were HCV-seronegative, with a median TTP of 31 and 50+ months (P=0.01), and a 5-year progression-free survival of 43 ± 18% and 77 ± 7% (P=0.005), respectively. HCV-seropositive patients experienced frequent relapses despite further lines of therapy; relapses were systemic in all cases but one; multiple subcutaneous nodules were common at relapse.


HCV seropositivity is present in 13% of OAL of MALT-type. Concomitant HCV infection is associated with more disseminated disease and aggressive behavior in OAL, with a consequent potential negative impact in patients managed with radiotherapy alone.

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