Yonsei Med J.  2002 Apr;43(2):175-182. 10.3349/ymj.2002.43.2.175.

Therapeutic Outcome of Epstein-Barr Virus Positive T/NK Cell Lymphoma in the Upper Aerodigestive Tract

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. medi@yumc.yonsei.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Pathology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Radiation Oncology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Expression of the natural killer (NK) cell antigen CD56 is uncommon in malignant lymphoma, but when it is, it is almost exclusively of the non-B cell lineage and show a preference for the nasal and nasopharyngeal region. T/NK cell lymphoma is known to be aggressive and refractory to treatment. It is highly associated with the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), but clinical investigations are rarely reported, that is until recently. We report here, on the clinical features and therapeutic outcomes of patients with T/NK cell lymphomas and its association with EBV. We reviewed fifty-four cases with peripheral T cell lymphomas in the upper aerodigestive tract between Jan. 1987 and Aug. 1998 from the Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine. The diagnosis of T/NK cell lymphoma was made according to the expression of the NK cell markers, CD56 antigen and cytoplasmic CD3 epsilon, in tumor specimens, by immunohistochemistry. Epstein-Barr early region (EBER) RNA was detected using in situ hybridization on paraffin-embedded sections. Among the 54 cases with malignant lymphomas occurring in the upper aerodigestive tract, 20 had T/NK cell lymphoma (37%). The primary sites of T/NK cell lymphomas were the nasal cavity, 12 cases (60%), the tonsils, 4 cases (20%), the nasopharynx, 2 cases (10%), and the oropharynx, 2 case (10%). There were no differences between the features, at diagnosis or therapeutic modalities for patients with T/NK cell lymphoma and non-T/NK cell lymphoma. The complete remission rate of T/NK cell lymphomas was lower than non-T/NK cell lymphomas (65% vs 85%, p=0.02). The overall survival of T/NK cell lymphomas was 13 months (1-74 month), which was significantly lower than non-T/NK cell lymphomas [60.6% with a median follow up of 22 months (1-101 month, p=0.02)]. Disease free survival of T/NK cell lymphomas was 22 months (4-66 month), significantly lower than non-T/NK cell lymphomas [73.8% with a median follow up of 22 months (2-95 month), p=0.04]. The overall survival rates for T/NK cell lymphomas were significantly lower than for EBV positive non-T/NK cell lymphomas (p=0.018). EBER RNA was detected in the paraffin-embedded tissue sections of all T/NK cell lymphomas, compared to only 17.6% (6 of 34 cases) for non- T/NK cell lymphomas. In conclusion, as patients with T/NK cell lymphomas showed poor clinical outcomes, and a high association with EBV positivity, clinical trials with more investigational therapeutic strategies, and further research into the relationship of EBV infection with pathogenesis of T/NK cell lymphoma is warranted.

Keyword

CD 56+; T/NK cell lymphoma; Epstein-Barr virus

MeSH Terms

Adult
Aged
Digestive System Neoplasms/*therapy/virology
Female
Herpesvirus 4, Human/isolation & purification
Human
*Killer Cells, Natural
Lymphoma/*therapy/virology
Lymphoma, T-Cell/*therapy/virology
Male
Middle Age
Respiratory Tract Neoplasms/*therapy/virology
Treatment Outcome
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