Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

You are here: 

Primary effusion lymphoma

Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a rare subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). It may also be called body cavity–based lymphoma.

PEL most often occurs in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or AIDS. It can sometimes occur in people who have had organ transplants. PEL is often linked with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. It is also linked to Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) infection.

PEL is a very fast-growing (aggressive) type of NHL. It causes an abnormal buildup of fluid in the cavity (space) around the heart, the cavity around the lungs or the cavity in the abdomen. Lymphoma cells are found in the fluid in these body cavities.

Treatments

PEL is treated with chemotherapy. People with HIV or AIDS will also be given highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

Chemotherapy

A combination of chemotherapy drugs is usually used to treat PEL. A common chemotherapy combination used is CHOP:

  • cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Procytox)
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • vincristine (Oncovin)
  • prednisone

Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)

HAART is a combination of anti-HIV drugs. It is used to treat HIV infection and lower the risk of developing AIDS-related diseases.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)

A type of herpes virus that causes mononucleosis (a highly infectious disease that causes fever, fatigue, malaise and sore throat).

Epstein-Barr virus is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, including Burkitt lymphoma.

Also called Human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4).

Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV)

A type of herpes virus that may cause Kaposi sarcoma.

Also called Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus or Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8).

Stories

Researcher Dr Réjean Lapointe Dr Réjean Lapointe is developing a gel to improve immunotherapy.

Learn more

Investing to reduce cancer burden

Icon - piggy bank

Last year CCS funded $40 million in cancer research, thanks to our donors. Discover how you can help reduce the burden of cancer.

Learn more