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J Clin Lab Anal. 2013 Sep;27(5):373-8. doi: 10.1002/jcla.21613.

Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) values reflect therapeutic effectiveness in zidovudine-receiving HIV patients.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.



An increase of the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) of erythrocytes and alterations in the lipid profiles have been described in HIV-infected patients under combination of anti-retroviral treatment (cART), particularly zidovudine (AZT).


In 687 sera from 179 HIV-positive patients, MCV levels were correlated with the clinical outcome or therapeutic effectiveness. The sera were classified into three groups according to AZT treatment; cART with AZT (n = 317), cART without AZT (n = 262), and no anti-retroviral therapy (n = 108).


The MCV and lipid profile values were increased after cART. The AZT-based cART group had higher MCV levels (111.6 ± 7.0 vs. 97.8 ± 7.0 fl, P < 0.001) and a higher incidence of macrocytosis (>99 fl; 95.3% vs. 38.2%, P < 0.001) than the non-AZT-based cART group. The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that the area under the curve was 0.835 and the cut-off of MCV (>102 fl) had a sensitivity of 96.1% and specificity of 66.7% for detecting HIV-RNA (-) sera in AZT-based cART group. In the multivariate regression analysis, HIV-viral load and HDL-cholesterol were the only significant correlates to the MCV values in the AZT-base cART group (P < 0.05).


The MCV values could be used as a surrogate marker to monitor the clinical outcome of HIV-infected patients receiving AZT-based cART.

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


HIV; HIV-RNA; MCV; macrocytosis; zidovudine

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