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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 638185, 10 pages
Review Article

Indolent B-Cell Lymphomas Associated with HCV Infection: Clinical and Virological Features and Role of Antiviral Therapy

1Department of Hematology Oncology, University of Pavia, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, 27100 Pavia, Italy
2Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, Ospedale di Circolo, Fondazione Macchi, 21100 Varese, Italy
3Department of Hematology, DISM, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria S. M. Misericordia, 33100 Udine, Italy
4Clinica Ematologica, Centro Trapianti e Terapie Cellulari “Carlo Melzi”, DISM, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria S. M. Misericordia, p.le S. Maria Misericordia 15, 33100 Udine, Italy

Received 16 May 2012; Revised 4 July 2012; Accepted 4 July 2012

Academic Editor: Jürg Schifferli

Copyright © 2012 Luca Arcaini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The association between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHL) has been demonstrated by epidemiological studies, in particular in highly endemic geographical areas such as Italy, Japan, and southern parts of United States. In these countries, together with diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, marginal zone lymphomas are the histotypes most frequently associated with HCV infection; in Italy around 20–30% cases of marginal zone lymphomas are HCV positive. Recently, antiviral treatment with interferon with or without ribavirin has been proved to be effective in the treatment of HCV-positive patients affected by indolent lymphoma, prevalently of marginal zone origin. An increasing number of experiences confirmed the validity of this approach in marginal zone lymphomas and in other indolent NHL subtypes like lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. Across different studies, overall response rate was approximately 75%. Hematological responses resulted significantly associated with the eradication of the virus. This is the strongest evidence of a causative link between HCV and lymphomas. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the relationship between HCV infection and different subtypes of indolent B-cell lymphomas and to systematically summarize the data from the therapeutic studies that reported the use of antiviral treatment as hematological therapy in patients with HCV-associated indolent lymphomas.