Back to Journals » Blood and Lymphatic Cancer: Targets and Therapy » Volume 8

Plasmablastic lymphoma: current perspectives

Authors Lopez A, Abrisqueta P

Received 9 April 2018

Accepted for publication 25 July 2018

Published 4 October 2018 Volume 2018:8 Pages 63—70


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor David Dingli

Andres Lopez,1 Pau Abrisqueta2

1Lymphoma Unit, Department of Hematology, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain; 2Department of Hematology, Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: Plasmablastic lymphoma (PbL) is a rare and aggressive B-cell malignancy with large neoplastic cells, most of them resembling plasmablasts that have a CD20-negative phenotype. Although initially described as being associated with HIV, over the years it has also been identified in patients with solid organ transplant and immunocompetent patients. Little is known about molecular basis that drives PbL, and still its diagnosis remains challenging given its rarity. However, proper recognition of its clinical characteristics, localization, and morphological features can establish a correct diagnosis of PbL within the spectrum of CD20-negative large B-cell lymphomas (LBCLs). PbL is characterized by CD20 and PAX5 negativity together with the expression of CD38, CD138, MUM1/IRF4, Blimp1, and XBP1 plasmacytic differentiation markers. It is usually associated with Epstein–Barr virus infections, and MYC gene rearrangements. PbL should be carefully differentiated from other CD20-negative B-cell neoplasms, ie, primary effusion lymphoma, anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive (ALK) large B-cell lymphoma, and LBCL in human herpesvirus 8-associated multicentric Castleman disease. Despite our improved understanding of this disease, its prognosis remains dismal with short overall survival. There is no standard of care for this entity. Several chemotherapy combinations have been used with hardly any differences on its outcome. Thus, new approaches with the addition of novel molecules are needed to overcome its poor prognosis. Our current understanding and knowledge of PbL relies primarily on case reports and small case series. In this review, we revise through an extensive literature search, the clinical and biological characteristics of this entity, and the potential therapeutic options.

Keywords: plasmablastic lymphoma, review

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]