Hepatocellular lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma associated with Epstein Barr virus: A Hitherto unrecognized entity

Michael W. Si, John A. Thorson, Gregory Y. Lauwers, Paola DalCin, Jaime Furman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: Lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma (LELC) is an undifferentiated carcinoma with a dense lymphoid stroma. It has been reported in diverse organs and shows variable association with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Only a few EBV positive cases have been observed in the hepatobiliary system, all of which were considered to be cholangiocarcinomas. We report a unique case of hepatocellular LELC arising in a cirrhotic liver with EBV demonstrated in the tumor cells. Methods and Results: A 39-year-old Hispanic female underwent an orthotopic liver transplant for end stage liver disease secondary to chronic hepatitis C. A high-grade hepatocellular carcinoma with a dense lymphocytic infiltrate was found in the explant as well as in a portal lymph node. Three months posttransplant, the patient developed numerous hepatic nodules with enlarged periaortic and portacaval lymph nodes. Biopsy of the hepatic nodules showed a recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma devoid of a dense lymphocytic infiltrate. Both the primary and recurrent tumors were positive for EBV by molecular studies. The patient eventually expired from liver failure over a 6-week period. Conclusion: This case represents the first report of EBV-positive hepatocellular LELC. It is particularly interesting given the precipitous clinical outcome, which was possibly related to immunosuppresive therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-189
Number of pages7
JournalDiagnostic Molecular Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Cirrhosis
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Immunosuppression
  • Lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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