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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Primary leptomeningeal plasmablastic lymphoma

  • Author(s): Mathews, MS
  • Bota, DA
  • Kim, RC
  • Hasso, AN
  • Linskey, ME
  • et al.

Lymphomas that develop in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients are predominantly aggressive B-cells lymphomas. The most common HIV-associated lymphomas include Burkitt lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (that often involves the CNS), primary effusion lymphoma, and plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL). Of these, PBL is relatively uncommon and displays a distinct affinity for presentation in the oral cavity. In this manuscript we report a previously undescribed primary leptomeningeal form of PBL in a patient with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. A 40-year-old HIV positive man presented with acute onset confusion, emesis, and altered mental status. Lumbar puncture showed numerous nucleated cells with atypical plasmocyte predominance. CSF flowcytometry showed kappa restriction with CD8 and CD38 positivity and negative lymphocyte markers, while the MRI showed diffuse leptomeningeal enhancement. As the extensive systemic work-up failed to reveal any disease outside the brain, an en bloc diagnostic brain and meningeal biopsy was performed. The biopsy specimen showed sheets of plasmacytoid cells with one or more large nuclei, prominent nuclear chromatin, scattered mitoses, and abundant cytoplasm, highly suggestive of plasmablastic lymphoma. HIV-associated malignancies have protean and often confusing presentations, which pose diagnostic difficulties posed to the practicing neurological-surgeons. Even in cases where an infectious cause is suspected for the meningeal enhancement, neoplastic involvement should be considered, and cytology and flow-cytometry should be routinely ordered on the CSF samples. © 2011 The Author(s).

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