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Plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) is a rare B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma often associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. To gain insight in this aggressive lymphoma subtype, the clinicopathologic characteristics of 25 unpublished single-center PBLs (2 in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients, 11 in immunocompetent individuals [IC-PBL], 12 in transplant recipients [PT-PBL]) and of 277 reported PBLs were summarized. In the reported series, PBL patients were predominantly male (77%) with a median age at diagnosis of 46 years (range, 1.2 to 87 y). The majority of the biopsies (66%) was EBV positive. Extranodal presentation was most frequent (88%, of which 35% were oral, 18% gastrointestinal, 12% cutaneous). PBL was diagnosed in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients (50%), immunocompetent individuals (35%), and transplant recipients (14%). These subgroups differed in age at diagnosis (median: 41, 64, 47 y, respectively), primary localization (oral, oral, cutaneous, respectively), EBV positivity (75%, 50%, 67%, respectively), CD45 expression (31%, 33%, 70%, respectively), and C-MYC aberrations (78%, 44%, 38%, respectively). Ann Arbor stage I, EBV positivity, CD45 expression, and lack of C-MYC aberrations were associated with better outcome (P<0.05). Our series of IC-PBL and PT-PBL cases revealed differential expression of CD10 (0% vs. 42%, respectively), CD56 (22% vs. 42%, respectively), TP53 (67% vs. 8%, respectively), and BCL2 (88% vs. 25%, respectively). Gene expression analysis of 5 of our PT-PBLs revealed upregulation of DNMT3B, PTP4A3, and CD320 in EBV-positive PT-PBL and suggested a role for cancer/testis antigens. The results of this retrospective study suggest different pathogenic mechanisms of PBL in different immunologic settings and a potentially important impact of EBV and CD45 on prognosis.