Fulminant Epstein-Barr virus (EBV+) T-cell lymphoma in immunocompetent elderly patients is rare and its character has not been well defined. This study analyzed the clinicopathological features of five elderly patients (group A: 50-84 years) and compared them with those of eight children and young adult patients with systemic T-cell lymphomas (group B: 10-34 years). Group A more commonly presented with generalized lymphadenopathy (n=3) than did group B (n=1). Chronic active EBV infection (n=3) and hydroa vacciniforme-like eruptions (n=1) were seen in group B, while group A showed no evidence of chronic EBV infection, but did show chronic hepatitis B or C virus infections (n=3). The histological and immunophenotypical findings were similar. All patients died within 1 to 14 months of diagnosis. These findings suggest that EBV+ T-cell lymphoma in elderly patients is a unique disease with an underlying derangement of T-cell immunity and failure to eradicate infected virus. Additional factors related to senility may play a role in the disruption of homeostasis between the virus and the host's immune system.
- Epstein-Barr virus