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Drugs. 2001;61(9):1301-15.

Management of AIDS-related non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoekhuis, Amsterdam.


The incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in individuals infected with HIV is approximately 60- to 100-fold increased over the general population. The majority of patients with AIDS-related lymphoma (ARL) present with stage III-IV disease and with B-symptoms. They often have multiple extranodal localisations, with a high incidence of central nervous system involvement. Histologically, most tumours are either diffuse large cell lymphomas or Burkitt lymphomas. Several factors, such as disrupted immune surveillance, Epstein-Barr virus infection, chronic antigenic stimulation, cytokine dysregulation and the acquisition of genetic lesions, are thought to contribute to the pathogenesis. Patients with ARL have a poor prognosis: overall survival ranges from 1.5 to 18 months. The most important adverse prognostic factors are poor performance status, a low CD4+ cell count and a history of opportunistic infections. Results of treatment with polychemotherapy compare unfavourably to results in patients without HIV infection. Since the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), there appears to be a decrease in the incidence of ARL. In addition, the use of HAART in combination with chemotherapy and the use of new treatment modalities may improve the outcome of this disease.

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