An unusual and challenging case of HIV-associated primary CNS Lymphoma with Hodgkin-like morphology and HIV encephalitis

Isaac E. Lloyd, Parker W. Clement, Karen L. Salzman, Randy L. Jensen, Mohamed E. Salama, Cheryl A. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


HIV-associated primary CNS lymphomas are well-recognized, almost exclusively EBV-driven neoplasms with poor clinical prognosis. We report a challenging, atypical case of an HIV-associated lymphoproliferative disorder with unusual morphologic features reminiscent of Hodgkin Lymphoma, accompanied by HIV encephalitis. A 52-year-old male presented with acute seizures after seven months of progressive neurocognitive decline that was clinically diagnosed as progressive supranuclear palsy. Clinical work-up revealed HIV infection along with two ring-enhancing lesions in the brain on MRI, and negative CSF EBV testing. Subsequent biopsy showed well-demarcated hypercellular regions in the brain comprised of scattered Reed-Sternberg-like cells in a background of small to medium-sized lymphocytes exhibiting focal angiocentricity and geographic necrosis. The atypical cells were positive for CD20, EBV, and CD79a, and negative for CD45, GFAP, CD15, CD30, and p24. These cells were admixed with numerous CD68-positive cells. The adjacent brain showed classic features of HIV encephalitis with perivascular, CD68 and p24-positive multinucleated giant cells. This case illustrates several diagnostic pitfalls in the work-up of HIV-associated brain lesions, as well as reporting a unique histomorphology for an HIV-related primary CNS lymphoproliferative disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number152
JournalDiagnostic pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015


  • Encephalitis
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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