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Primary central nervous system plasmablastic lymphoma in an HIV-positive patient
  1. Ruben Rhoades1,
  2. Jerald Gong2,
  3. Neil Palmisiano1 and
  4. Onder Alpdogan1
  1. 1 Department of Medical Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2 Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ruben Rhoades, ruben.rhoades{at}


Plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) is a rare subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, highly associated with HIV and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections. It commonly presents in extranodal sites, often an oral mass, but reports of primary central nervous system PBL (PCNSPBL) are exceedingly rare. Here, we report on a 33-year-old man with newly diagnosed HIV infection who presented with acute-onset unilateral visual disturbance and was found to have biopsy-proven PCNSPBL. The neoplastic cells displayed a plasmacytoid appearance, with the expression of CD38 and CD138, and were positive for EBV by in situ hybridisation for EBV-encoded RNA. Systemic workup revealed the presence of Kaposi sarcoma, but no evidence of lymphoma. He is currently being treated with high-dose methotrexate, as well as antiretroviral therapy for his HIV infection, and has achieved a complete response.

  • CNS cancer
  • malignant and benign haematology
  • HIV / AIDS

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  • Contributors Primary author was RR. OA, NP, and JG contributed equally to the preparation and editing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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