Author(s): De Luca A, Antinori A, Cingolani A, Larocca LM, Linzalone A,
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Abstract Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is almost always associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and EBV-DNA in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has been indicated as a useful tumour marker for this HIV-related neoplasm. AIDS lymphomas also show an enhanced production of IL-10 which is generally associated with the presence of EBV in lymphoma cells. We performed a prospective study in 19 HIV seropositive patients with brain mass lesions, and in 21 other AIDS patients with or without other neurological disorders, to assess the in vivo diagnostic value of EBV-DNA and of IL-10 levels in the CSF for primary lymphoma of the central nervous system (CNS). EBV-DNA was detected by a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the CSF from seven of eight patients with PCNSL, diagnosed by brain biopsy (87.5\% sensitivity) and in none of the 11 controls with brain mass lesions (100\% specificity) and of the other 21 AIDS patients with or without neurological disorders. The only patient with PCNSL without detectable EBV-DNA in the CSF was also negative for EBV-DNA in the lymphoma tissue, whereas the samples of the other seven brain lymphomas were all positive for EBV-DNA by nested PCR. Therefore 100\% of patients with an EBV-positive primary CNS lymphoma had detectable EBV-DNA in the CSF. No patient from the control group without PCNSL with EBV-negative CSF developed a lymphoma after a mean follow-up of 157 +/- 173 d. IL-10 levels in the CSF from the patients with PCNSL were not significantly different from those in the other groups of patients with AIDS. Due to uniformly high levels in the CSF from AIDS patients, IL-10 is not a useful diagnostic marker for AIDS-related brain lymphoma. The detection of EBV-DNA from the CSF by nested PCR is an extremely sensitive and specific diagnostic tool for AIDS-related PCNSL and should be further evaluated as a possible alternative in patients from whom brain biopsy is not advisable.
This article was published in Br J Haematol
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion