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March 1996

Epstein-Barr Virus and Lymphomatoid Papulosis: A Suspect Exonerated (at Least for Now)

Author Affiliations

Dermatopathology Section 408 Health Sciences West University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA 94143-0506

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(3):335-337. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890270111016

Guilt BY association is a time-honored concept in medicine, if not in law. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been considered, for good reason, a possible cause of lymphomatoid papulosis (LYP), but for now it appears to have been exonerated, even if it is has been seen lurking around some closely related entities.

To understand why EBV was a suspect in the case of LYP, let us review that unusual entity and its relationship with Hodgkin's disease (HD) and with mycosis fungoides (MF). Lymphomatoid papulosis is typified by remitting and relapsing papules and nodules, with a course that often persists for many years before burning itself out. Individual lesions can last for several weeks to a few months, and then resolve, sometimes leaving pigmentary change or atrophy. The condition partially derives its name from its histologic appearance. There are large mononuclear cells that resemble those of a lymphoma; indeed, many of

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