HIV-associated Hypertrophic Herpes Simplex Genitalis With Concomitant Early Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma Mimicking Advanced Genital Cancer: Case Report and Literature Review

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Abstract

Hypertrophic herpes simplex genitalis (HHSG) is an uncommon anogenital manifestation of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection in immunocompromised patients. To date, 24 cases of HHSG have been reported; 23 of them were affected human immune deficiency virus (HIV) type 1-positive patients. We describe the case of a 44-year-old African HIV-1-positive woman who presented with painful ulcerated nodular lesions of the vulva and perianal area measuring up to 7 cm in diameter. Macroscopically, the lesions were highly suspicious of widely invasive cancer. The histologic workup of the resection specimen revealed patchy high-grade vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia Grade 3 (VIN 3) and 2 microscopic foci of superficially invasive squamous cell carcinoma. The nodular lesions were caused by massive tumefactive plasma cell-rich inflammatory infiltrates extending into the subcutis. Multinucleated herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2-positive epithelial cells with glassy intranuclear inclusions were detected at the borders of the ulcerations, consistent with HHSG. Despite repeated surgery and medical treatment, the patient had 3 recurrences of HHSG within 18 months. The presence of intraepithelial neoplasia in HHSG lesions is relatively rare and has been described in 6 of 18 resected HHSG lesions in the literature so far. With regard to invasive malignancy, the present case is the first report of a superficially invasive squamous cell carcinoma associated with HHSG. Awareness of this condition is necessary to avoid misinterpretation of HHSG as widely invasive squamous cell carcinoma with the hazard of surgical and oncological overtreatment.

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