Early acquisition of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is prevalent in developing countries. We studied infectious mononucleosis (IM) and the subtypes of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) with the status of EBV infection in Vietnamese children. Among the 46 cases of HL, the male-to-female ratio was 38:8, and the mean age at presentation was 6.6 years. Similar to the subtype distribution in developed countries, cases were classified as nodular sclerosis (NSHL) subtype in 56.5% (n = 26), mixed cellularity (MCHL) in 23.9% (n = 11), lymphocyte-rich classic (LRCHL) in 8.7% (n = 4), lymphocyte depletion (LDHL) subtype in 4.4% (n = 2), and nodular lymphocyte predominance (NLPHL) subtype in 6.5% (n = 3). However, in situ hybridization for EBV-encoded RNA revealed that the tumor cells were positive in 93.2% (41/44) of cases, including all 3 cases of nodular lymphocyte predominance HL. Expression of CD20 on Reed-Sternberg cells could be demonstrated in 17% (7/42) of classic HL. The high incidence of EBV in these cases of HL was correlated with an earlier mean age of presentation of primary EBV infection (ie, IM), at 5.3 years, in this patient population, compared with an average of 15 to 19 years reported in developed countries. This study demonstrates that in an area with an earlier mean age of onset of EBV infection, nearly all cases of pediatric HL, including all histological patterns, may be related to EBV infection. The association of NLPHL with EBV is unusual, and the literature is reviewed and discussed.
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