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Infectious Agents and Cancer

Open Access

DNA ploidy, cell proliferation, and HIV/EBV association in Tanzanian malignant lymphomas

  • Amos Mwakigonja1, 2Email author,
  • German Wannhoff2,
  • Thomas Heiden3,
  • Anna Porwit4,
  • Peter Biberfeld2 and
  • Ephata Kaaya1, 2
Infectious Agents and Cancer20105(Suppl 1):A21

Published: 11 October 2010


Malignant LymphomaMuhimbili National HospitalMalignant LymphomaFrequent AneuploidyDLBCL Subtype


Malignant lymphomas (ML) are increasingly important causes of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa including Tanzania, possibly due to HIV and AIDS. However, the biological characterization ML including their HIV and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) association as well as DLBCL subtypes in Tanzania is still sketchy. This prevents diagnostic/prognostic comparison as well as application of established therapeutic protocols.

Materials and methods

Selected archival, diagnostic ML biopsies (N=60) collected at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, between 1996 and 2006 and their corresponding clinical/histopathological notes were analyzed by histopathology; immunohistochemistry (IHC) using CD20, CD3, CD30, CD10, MUM1p, BCL-6, BCL-2, and Ki-67 cell markers; flow-cytometry (FC) for DNA ploidy; and in situ hybridization (ISH) (n=25) for EBV-encoded RNA (EBER). Available sera (N=35) were screened by ELISA for HIV antibodies.


Out of the evaluated cases, 27 were diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of which a slight majority (55.6%, n=15/27) had activated B cell-like (ABC) and 44.4% (12/27) had germinal center B cell-like (GCB) immunophenotype, although this was not statistically significant (p-value 0.547, Chi2 Test). Overall, 40% (24/60) ML were aneuploid mostly (63.0%, 17/27) the DLBCL and T-cell lymphoma (TCL) [54.5%, 6/11] which differences were not statistically significant (p-value 0.06, Chi2 Test. DNA index (DI) of FC-analyzed ML ranged from 1.103 to 2.407 (median=1.51) and most (75.0%) aneuploid cases showed high (>40%) cell proliferation by Ki-67 reactivity (p-value 0.031, statistically significant, Fisher's Exact Test). The majority (51.4%, 19/37) of EBER ISH analyzed lymphoma biopsies were positive (p-value 0.87, not statistically significant, Chi2 Test). Of the serologically tested lymphomas 40.0% (14/35) were HIV positive, mostly with high (≥40.0%) Ki-67 reactivity [p-value=0.05, statistically significant, Pearson Correlation].


Lymphomas at MNH appear to have frequent aneuploidy and EBER positivity as well as high DNA indices and tumor proliferation (Ki-67). DLBCL phenotype heterogeneity was similar to that observed in other countries suggesting applicability of established intervention approaches. HIV was apparently associated with high lymphoma cell proliferation but extended studies are needed to clarify this.



This article has been published as part of Infectious Agents and Cancer Volume 5 Supplement 1, 2010: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Malignancies in AIDS and Other Acquired Immunodeficiencies (ICMAOI).The full contents of the supplement are available online at

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Pathology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna/Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Otto-Heubner-Center for Pediatrics, Virchow-Klinikum, Germany
Department of Pathology, Radiumhemmet, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Sweden


© Mwakigonja et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.