Source Winship Cancer Institute-Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University-School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.
BACKGROUND: Whether to interrupt or to continue induction therapy for lymphoma when hepatitis C virus (HCV) reactivation occurs during therapy with rituximab and chemotherapy remains a controversial question. There is limited evidence-based literature to help guide the management of patients with lymphoma in the setting of HCV reactivation. To address this issue we report an illustrative case and review the prevalence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in HCV-infected patients; the role of HCV in lymphomagenesis; the role of antiviral therapy in the management of HCV-associated lymphomas; as well as comparing the outcomes for NHL patients with and without HCV infection.
CASE REPORT: A patient diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was treated with rituximab and chemotherapy with the patient achieving a complete remission, but treatment was complicated by asymptomatic HCV reactivation. Because conflicting data exist regarding management of such cases, the criteria for discontinuing chemotherapy, in the event of escalation in HCV replication in an asymptomatic patient, remain unclear.
CONCLUSION: Patients with HCV have increased prevalence of marginal zone lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. Whether HCV has a role in the lymphomagenesis is still uncertain, and limited to conjecture. The question whether to treat HCV-related lymphomas with antiviral therapy is debatable and not well-supported. Without initial liver dysfunction, HCV-infected patients can experience a similar outcome compared to their HCV-negative counterparts when treated with standard chemotherapy/immunotherapy despite differences in the presentation of the disease.