Long-term survival of patients with HIV-related systemic non-Hodgkin's lymphomas

Umberto Tirelli, Domenico Errante, Michele Spina, Emanuela Vaccher, Diego Serraino, Mauro Boiocchi, Annunziata Gloghini, Antonino Carbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: the overall outcome of patients with HIV-related non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (HIV-NHL) is poor because of the adverse clinico-pathological features of HIV-NHL and of the underlying HIV infection. However, the experience of physicians in the management of HIV-NHL has increased, in particular in the use of intensive chemotherapy regimens, leading to an improvement in the prognosis of some of these neoplasms. Because some patients with AIDS may survive up to 5 years, it is possible to evaluate the long-term efficacy of the treatment of patients with HIV-NHL. In the general population, aggressive NHL, that are those occurring in HIV patients, may be considered cured after 2 years of lasting complete remission (CR) after chemotherapy. Patients and methods: we reviewed our monoinstitutional case-series of 73 HIV-infected patients with systemic NHL, observed between April 1985 and February 1993. Two groups of patients were arbitrarily identified, the first one (group A) including patients with a CR lasting for at least 2 years (N = 13) and the other including all remaining patients (group B) (N = 60). Results: the 13 patients of group A differed significantly from the other patients in terms of higher CD4+ cell count and performance status (PS) at the time of diagnosis of NHL. There was no significant difference in the histological subtypes of the HIV-NHLs. The overall survival of the 73 patients was 8 months. In a separate analysis on all patients, age less than 30 years, PS less or equal to 1, a CD4+ cell count equal to or higher than 100/mm3 and the absence of B symptoms were significantly associated with a longer survival. The median survival in patients of group A was 42 months, however none of these patients relapsed during a median observation time of 42 months (range, 24-90). Conclusions: long-term survival and possibly cure can be obtained in some patients with HIV-NHL, in particular in those with a better PS and a less advanced immune dysfunction. In fact some of these patients are alive without evidence of disease 4 to 7 years after therapy, and others died of causes related to underlying HIV infection, in particular opportunistic infections, rather than relapse of NHL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
JournalHematological Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Cure
  • HIV-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Long-term survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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