Detection of hepatitis C virus RNA sequences in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma

S J Karavattathayyil, G Kalkeri, H J Liu, P Gaglio, R F Garry, J R Krause, S Dash
American Journal of Clinical Pathology 2000, 113 (3): 391-8
Serologic testing shows that hepatitis C virus (HCV) may have a role in the pathogenesis of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (B-cell NHLs). We tried to demonstrate HCV RNA sequences in paraffin-embedded tissue from B-cell NHLs by reverse-transcription double polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Southern blotting. We studied 31 consecutive cases of B-cell NHLs; lymph nodes from 32 patients with diseases other than B-cell NHL were negative controls. Positive-strand HCV RNA was tested with primers for the 5' untranslated region. Replicative negative strand HCV RNA was tested with strand-specific RT-PCR for the 5' untranslated region. Immunohistochemical staining for HCV was done using an antibody to HCV core protein. Positive-strand HCV RNA was detected in 8 patients with B-cell NHL; negative-strand HCV RNA was detected in 6 of these cases, indicating viral replication. All control cases were negative for HCV RNA. Immunohistochemistry showed no staining of lymphoma cells for HCV core proteins in any case. HCV and B-cell NHLs may be associated. RT-PCR on paraffin-embedded lymphoma tissue is an alternative method of testing for HCV. The value of immunohistochemistry could not be ascertained. The exact role of HCV in the pathogenesis of B-cell NHL needs to be studied further.

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