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September 2018- Although HIV and HHV8 are highly prevalent in SSA, there are scarce reports of primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) from the region, likely reflecting underdiagnosis. This article describes the two recently confirmed cases of extracavitary PEL in Malawi.


‘Discovering’ primary effusion lymphoma in Malawi

Dhungel, B. M., Montgomery, N. D., Painschab, M. S., Mulenga, M., Tomoka, T., Kaimila, B., Gopal, S.


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Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a rare non-Hodgkin lymphoma associated with HHV8 and increased incidence among HIV-positive individuals. PEL rarely presents as solid tumor masses, or extracavitary PEL (EPEL). We found one case of PEL and no EPEL reported from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), despite a high prevalence of HIV and HHV8. With improved lymphoma diagnostic infrastructure in Malawi, we recently diagnosed the first two cases of EPEL, out of 85 HIV-associated aggressive NHL cases during 2013–2017.