Clinical features and predictors of survival in patients with AIDS-related non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

In this study, Australian researchers analysed the clinical features and predictors of survival for AIDS-related non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in the era of HAART, compared to earlier in the HIV epidemic.

All AIDS-NHL cases diagnosed at three inner Sydney hospitals caring for people with AIDS during 1985-2001 were identified through medical record searches. Demographic, clinical, immunological and histopathological information was recorded. Year of NHL diagnosis was grouped into three periods, corresponding to whether monotherapy (1985-1991), dual therapy (1992-1995) or HAART (1996-2001) was the main treatment for HIV infection. Statistical comparisons were made between the pre-HAART and post-HAART eras.

Three hundred cases of AIDS-NHL were identified. Divergent trends were identified for systemic and primary central nervous system (CNS) NHL. For systemic NHL, the CD4+ T cells count at NHL diagnosis increased markedly to 208 cells/mm3 in the post-HAART era (P=0.014) and there was a trend towards presentation as the first AIDS-defining illness (69%, P=0.053), and as earlier stage NHL disease (42%, P=0.048). Median survival time increased from 4.2 months in 1985-1991 to 19 months in the post-HAART era (P<0.001).

In a multivariate model, predictors of poor survival from systemic NHL included: NHL diagnosis after another AIDS-defining illness (P<0.001), stage 4 NHL (P<0.001), presentation at extra lymphatic sites (P=0.001), and non-receipt of chemotherapy (P=0.002).

After adjusting for the factors, those diagnosed in the era of HAART had a significant 56% reduction in rate of death (P<0.001). In contrast, for CNS NHL, clinical features were little changed and survival did not improve in the era of HAART.

The study concluded that systemic NHL is presenting earlier in the course of HIV disease, and at a less advanced NHL stage. There has been a marked improvement in survival in the era of HAART even after adjustment for other prognostic variables. In contrast, primary CNS NHL remains a disease that presents late in the course of HIV infection and is associated with a very poor prognosis.


© Copyright 2004 by HIV and All Rights Reserved. Reproduction for personal or educational use is encouraged and does not require permission. Written permission is required to re-print copyrighted articles but is almost always granted (email


Robotin MC et al. Clinical features and predictors of survival of AIDS-related non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in a population-based case series in Sydney, Australia. HIV Medicine 5(5): 377-384. September 2004.

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.