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NHL Often the Initial AIDS-Defining Illness

NHL Often the Initial AIDS-Defining Illness

ORLANDO—A large percentage of HIV-infected patients present with
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) as their initial AIDS-defining illness,
according to a retrospective study in patients with HIV-related systemic NHL at
one institution. Garrett R. Lynch, MD, reviewed the data at the American
Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting (abstract 1434).

Dr. Lynch and his associates from Baylor College of Medicine, analyzed data
they collected from Ben Taub General Hospital, Houston, from 1989 to 2000.
"We analyzed retrospectively our experience with HIV patients with NHL. A
total of 88 patients were identified," he said.

The mean age of the patients at time of disease presentation was 39 years;
there were 77 men and 11 women. Stage III/IV disease was present in 77
patients, and systemic (B) symptoms in 72. There was extranodal involvement of
at least one site in 77 patients, and 10 had involvement in at least three or
more nodal sites.

Other significant sites of disease invasion included bone marrow in 29
patients (33%), central nervous system in 19 (20%), gastrointestinal tract in
15 (17%), and liver involvement in 20 (23%). The mean CD4 count was 203
cells/mm³ (range, 4 to 1,403). An important histologic finding: Diffuse large B
cell lymphoma accounted for 66% of the cases; 17% of cases (15 patients) had
the immunoblastic variant.

Dr. Lynch said that 18 patients (20%) did not get any treatment for their
NHL because of poor performance status or because diagnosis was made at the
time of autopsy.

HIV Status at Time of Diagnosis

"Interestingly, when we compared the known HIV-positive group with the
new HIV-positive group, we found there was a trend toward older age in the
known group, 41 years vs 38, respectively," Dr. Lynch said.

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