Primary juxtaarticular soft tissue lymphoma arising in the vicinity of inflamed joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

J R Goodlad, K Hollowood, M A Smith, J K Chan, C D Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIMS: Primary soft tissue lymphoma is uncommon and little is known regarding its aetiology and pathogenesis. In a review of 37 soft tissue lymphomas we uncovered three cases associated with rheumatoid arthritis which we report herein.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The clinical records and pathology of the cases are described together with the results of in situ hybridization studies with oligonucleotide probes to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encoded RNA (EBER). All three patients were females with a long-standing history of rheumatoid arthritis ranging from 9 to 17 years. Each presented with a soft tissue mass in the vicinity of a joint affected by rheumatoid disease. All had received prior treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and one also received gold, penicillamine and intra-articular steroids to affected joints. None had received methotrexate. Histologically, the juxtaarticular soft tissue masses were all B-cell lymphomas. None were associated with EBV as determined by in situ hybridization.

CONCLUSIONS: These cases document an association between rheumatoid arthritis and soft tissue lymphoma of B-cell type, arising in the vicinity of an affected joint. Chronic local immune stimulation may have played a significant role in the genesis of these lymphomas, unlike the frequently reversible and EBV-positive lymphomas that occur in rheumatoid patients on immunosuppressive therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-204
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Lymphoma
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell
  • Lymphoma, Follicular
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms


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