We report a case of an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated nasal-type natural killer cell lymphoma (NKCL) preceded by benign panniculitis, which arose in a 48-year-old woman with an asymptomatic human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type-1 (HTLV-1) infection. A biopsy of the initial panniculitis lesion demonstrated lobular panniculitis with a germinal center composed of benign mononuclear cells with a phehotype of CD4+CD45RO+CD5sCD3+cCD3ε+ T-cell intracellular antigen-1 (TIA-1)- and granzyme B-. One year after oral prednisolone therapy, the patient developed subcutaneous nodules composed of atypical lymphoid cells with a phenotype of CD4+CD45RO+CD56+sCD3-cCD3ε + (TIA-1)+ and granzyme B+. In the initial panniculitis lesion, neither EBV-encoded RNA (EBER-1) nor clonal proliferation of EBV-infected cells was identified. In later lesions, however, a large number of atypical cells were positive for EBER-1, and a clonal expansion of EBV-infected cells was detected. No clonal rearrangement of T-cell receptor-α, -β, or -γ genes was found in either specimen. This patient was an asymptomatic carrier of human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type-1 (HTLV-1) without clonal integration of proviral HTLV-1 in neither the peripheral blood nor the skin lesions. These observations suggest that EBV-associated NKCL occurred subsequently in the clinical course of benign panniculitis under the influence of immunosuppression caused by prednisolone treatment and HTLV-1 infection.
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