B-lymphotropic viruses in a novel tropical splenic lymphoma

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Peripheral blood from patients with a novel tropical splenic lymphoma, characterized by splenomegaly and circulating naïve CD5-negative villous B lymphocytes, has been screened for evidence of an association with the B-lymphotropic viruses, Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8). No increased prevalence of EBV, HCV and HHV8 was demonstrated using serological and molecular techniques, compared with a geographical, age-matched control group. However, lymphoma patients had markedly raised EBV antibody levels without a concomitant increase in the rate of detection of viral genomes in the peripheral blood. This phenomenon also occurred in patients with hyper-reactive malarial splenomegaly, a condition that occurs in the same geographical area and that is clinically indistinguishable from tropical splenic lymphoma, adding further weight to the suggestion that there may be an aetiological association between these two disorders.

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