EBV-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the elderly: 2016 update on diagnosis, risk-stratification, and management.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American Journal of Hematology








Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of the elderly is a provisional entity included in the 2008 WHO classification of lymphoid neoplasms. It is a disease typically seen in the elderly and thought to be associated with chronic EBV infection and severe immunosuppression with a component of immunosenescence. Recent research, however, has suggested that EBV-positive DLBCL can be seen in younger, immunocompetent patients. The diagnosis of EBV-positive DLBCL of the elderly is made through a careful pathological evaluation. The differential diagnosis includes infectious mononucleosis (specifically in younger patients), lymphomatoid granulomatosis, Hodgkin lymphoma, and gray zone lymphoma, among others. Detection of EBV-encoded RNA (EBER) is considered standard for diagnosis; however, a clear cutoff for positivity has not been defined. The International Prognostic Index (IPI), and the Oyama score can be used for risk-stratification. The Oyama score includes age >70 years and presence of B symptoms. The expression of CD30 is emerging as a potential adverse, and targetable, prognostic factor. Patients with EBV-positive DLBCL should be staged and managed following similar guidelines than patients with EBV-negative DLBCL. It has been suggested, however, that EBV-positive patients have a worse prognosis than EBV-negative counterparts in the era of chemoimmunotherapy. There is an opportunity to study and develop targeted therapy in the management of patients with EBV-positive DLBCL. Am. J. Hematol. 91:530-537, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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