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Open Access Case Report

Acute EBV infection masquerading as "In-situ Follicular Lymphoma": a pitfall in the differential diagnosis of this entity

Alejandro A Gru1, Friederike Kreisel2, Eric Duncavage2, TuDung T Nguyen2, Anjum Hassan2 and John L Frater2*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH, USA

2 Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Avenue, Box 8118, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

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Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:100  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-100

Published: 19 June 2013

Abstract

We present the case of a 30 year-old man who was referred for evaluation of diffuse lymphadenopathy. Six weeks prior, he noticed darkening of his urine associated with pale stools, nausea and an eventual 30 lb weight loss within a month. The initial laboratory findings showed elevation of the liver enzymes. A CT scan showed mesenteric and periaortic lymphadenopathy with the largest lymph node measuring 2.8 cm. Other laboratory results were otherwise unremarkable (including a normal LDH) with the exception of positive serum antibodies against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) associated antigens (IgM+ and IgG+). An excisional biopsy of 4 of the small neck lymph nodes showed a normal architecture with prominent follicles and an intact capsule. But, by immunohistochemistry two of the follicles showed aberrant coexpression of BCL-2, in addition to CD10 and BCL-6. In-situ hybridization for early Epstein-Barr virus mRNA (EBER) and immunohistochemistry for latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) stained both scattered positive cells, as well as BCL-2 positive B-cells. Although an original diagnosis of in-situ follicular lymphoma was favored at an outside facility, additional interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) studies for t(14;18);(IGH-BCL2) rearrangement (performed on the BCL-2 + follicles microdissected from the tissue block; Abott probe dual colour fusion) and molecular studies (IGH gene rearrangement by PCR, also performed on the microdissected follicles) were negative. Serologic studies (positive EBV antibodies) and immunostains in conjunction with the molecular studies confirmed the reactive nature of the changes. Our case also shows direct immunopathogenic evidence of BCL-2 expression among the EBV-infected cells, which has to our knowledge not been previously documented in vivo. A diagnosis of EBV infection should, therefore, be considered when confronted with BCL-2 expression in germinal centers, particularly in younger individuals, as the diagnosis of FLIS may lead to extensive and invasive haematologic work-ups.

Virtual slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1323656318940068 webcite