Many studies have demonstrated an increased risk of cancer in patients with rheumatologic diseases, including systemic sclerosis. Less explored is the role of immunosuppressive therapy as a contributing factor in cancer emergence or detection. This series introduces two cases of patients with systemic sclerosis who demonstrated clinical improvement in their rheumatic disease process with immunosuppression, but both of whom developed neurologic symptoms in the setting of decreasing or discontinuing immunosuppressive therapy, leading to the ultimate diagnosis of Epstein–Barr virus positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the central nervous system. To our knowledge, primary central nervous system lymphoma has not been previously described in systemic sclerosis patients. Immunosuppressive therapies could promote the development of virus-associated malignancies due to decreased viral clearance. We hypothesize that removing immunosuppression could allow the immune system to generate an inflammatory response to an underlying tumor or viral antigen, contributing to development of neurologic symptoms and detection of underlying disease.
- Epstein–Barr virus
- Systemic sclerosis
- central nervous system lymphoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy