Non-Hodgkin lymphoma among young adults with and without AIDS in Italy

Luigino Dal Maso, Giovanni Rezza, Paola Zambon, Giovanna Tagliabue, Emanuele Crocetti, Marina Vercelli, Roberto Zanetti, Fabio Falcini, Giuseppe Tonini, Lucia Mangone, Vincenzo De Lisi, Stefano Ferretti, Rosario Tumino, Giorgio Stanta, Susanna Vitarelli, Diego Serraino, Silvia Franceschi

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To compare the presentation and prognosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in people with AIDS (PWA) and in the general Italian population, a record linkage study was carried out. The fraction of NHLs attributable to HIV/AIDS was also estimated. Information from the National AIDS Registry (RAIDS) was linked with records from 13 cancer registries (CR), covering about 15% of the Italian population. During the period 1985-94, among PWA ages 15-49, 136 NHLs were identified (8% of all NHLs) and were compared with 1,481 concurrent incident NHL cases of the same age group among non-PWA. Percentages above 13% of all NHLs were registered in the northern areas of Genoa and Varese, i.e., the most heavily affected by the AIDS epidemic. Between 1 year prior to and 3.5 years after AIDS diagnosis, PWA showed an overall standardised incidence ratio (SIR) for NHL of 302. SIR was particularly high (394) within 3 months after AIDS diagnosis and subsequently declined to 170. SIR was somewhat higher in females (428) than in males (280) but similar among intravenous-drug users (299) and other HIV-transmission groups (309). High-grade NHL, particularly immunoblastic and Burkitt's lymphoma, were twice as frequent among PWA than non-PWA. Conversely, low-grade NHL were less frequent. Except for the high proportion of brain localisation, no clear difference emerged in the pattern of NHL presentation site in PWA compared with non-PWA. At variance with NHL in the general population, among PWA histological grade had little impact on survival, which overall appeared to be very poor (2-year survival: 10%; 95% confidence interval: 3%-17%). Our present linkage of RAIDS and CRs represents an efficient tool for the surveillance of trends in incidence and survival of NHL among PWA in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-435
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2001


  • AIDS
  • Linkage
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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