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August 3, 1994

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Possible Role of Hepatitis C Virus

JAMA. 1994;272(5):355-356. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520050033023

To the Editor.  —A number of reports have suggested a role for hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a variety of hepatic and extrahepatic disorders (ie, chronic hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, porphyria cutanea tarda, Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, and mixed cryoglobulinemia).1 This latter condition is a "benign" lymphoproliferative disorder that in some subjects can switch over to a malignant B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).1 Moreover, the demonstration of the HCV lymphotropism2 suggested a pathogenetic role for this virus in B-cell expansion underlying some lymphoproliferative disorders. We investigated the prevalence of HCV infection in 24 unselected patients with B-cell NHL (14 men, 10 women; mean±SD age [range], 61±10 years [35 to 74 years]). Diagnosis of B-cell NHL was done by lymph node biopsy specimen evaluated according to the Working Formulation classification3 and by immunophenotypic analysis for surface T- and B-lymphocyte markers. All patients were Italian-born heterosexuals and had no history of drug