Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) has been recognized as a body-cavity-based lymphoma that was originally reported to be associated with human herpes virus 8 (HHV8) infection, and was frequently found in human immunodeficiency virus-positive (HIV) patients. Here we describe an autopsy case of PEL of the peritoneal cavity in an immunocompetent patient. Cytological analysis of tumor cells within ascites revealed immunocytochemical features of keratin positivity and CD45 negativity. At autopsy, the presence of a massive volume of ascites as well as diffuse tumor cell infiltrates within the serosa of the intestine and mesenterium were observed. Tumor cells were morphologically similar to anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, but were immunohistochemically positive for keratin and epithelial membrane antigen (EMA). They also showed no reactivity to representative lymphocyte surface markers including CD45, in addition to being negative for CD30 and p80NPM/ALK. Molecular analysis of the tumor cells revealed monoclonality of the immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene rearrangement which demonstrated a lymphoma of the B-cell lineage. Furthermore, HHV8 was not detected by immunohistochemical analysis, PCR or nested PCR technique. Based on these results, we consider the present case to be an HHV8-negative PEL with keratin and EMA positivity.
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