Lymphoma and plasma cell neoplasms
T / NK cell disorders
Hydroa Vacciniforme-like Lymphoma (HVL)

Author: Dragos Luca, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 14 March 2017, last major update January 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Hydroa Vacciniforme-like Lymphoma

See also: Systemic EBV+ T cell Lymphoproliferative Disease of Childhood (S-EBV-TLPD)
Cite this page: Hydroa Vacciniforme-like Lymphoma (HVL). website. Accessed April 27th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • HVL is an EBV+ cutaneous T cell lymphoma occurring in children and associated with sun sensitivity (WHO 2008)
  • Increased frequency in Asians and Native Americans from Central and South America, and Mexico
  • Mainly children and adolescents from Asia, or Native Americans from Central and South America, and Mexico
  • Rare in adults
  • Sun exposed skin, particularly the face (cheeks, nose, lower lip) but also ears and dorsum of hands
  • EBV transformed neoplastic cells (usually T but sometimes NK cells)
  • Hypersensitivity to sunlight
  • Related condition: mosquito bite hypersensitivity (the EBV+ cells are NK cells)
Postulated normal counterpart
  • Skin homing cytotoxic T cell or NK cell
Clinical features
  • Papulovesicular eruption usually followed by ulceration and scarring (mimics herpes)
  • Edema of face, eyelids and lips
  • Systemic symptoms (fever, wasting, lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, myocarditis) may occur, particularly late in course of disease
  • Variable clinical course with recurrent skin infections for up to 10 - 15 years before progression to systemic involvement
  • Much more aggressive once systemic spread has occurred
  • Mosquito bite allergy: clinically more aggressive and often associated with a hemophagocytic syndrome
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Small to medium neoplastic cells without significant atypia
  • Infiltrates extend from epidermis to subcutis with necrosis, angiocentricity, angioinvasion, epidermal ulceration
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Positive stains
  • Cytotoxic T cell phenotype; less often NK cell phenotype with CD56 expression
Negative stains
Molecular / cytogenetics description
  • Clonal TCR gene rearrangements in most cases (except some NK cell cases)
  • EBV is monoclonal