The role of cytokines in the pathogenesis and management of aids-related lymphomas

Lucia Fassone, Gianluca Gaidano, Cristiano Ariatti, Daniela Vivenza, Daniela Capello, Annunziata Gloghini, Anna Maria Cilia, Daniela Buonaiuto, Davide Rossi, Cristina Pastore, Antonino Carbone, Giuseppe Saglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIDS-related non-Hodgkin lymphomas (AIDS-NHL) consistently derive from B-cells and are characterized by extreme clinical aggressiveness. At histological level, AIDS-NHL are classified as AIDS-related Burkitt's lymphoma (AIDS-BL), AIDS-related diffuse large cell lymphoma (AIDS-DLCL) and AIDS-related primary effusion lymphoma (AIDS-PEL). The role of cytokines in the pathogenesis and management of AIDS-NHL has been studied to a certain extent. Production of large quantities of human IL-10 occurs frequently in AIDS-BL and correlates with latent EBV infection of the tumor clone. Lesser amounts of the cytokine are released in EBV negative cases. The pathogenetic role of IL-10 in AIDS-BL is suggested by the observation that IL-10 antisense oligonucleotides inhibit proliferation of the lymphoma. A significan fraction of AIDS-BL cell lines produce TNFβ. Among AIDS-NHL, the release of TNFβ appears to be specific for AIDS-BL. The pathogenetic relevance of TNFβ in lymphomagenesis is suggested by the observation that some BL cell lines use TNFP as an autocrine growth factor. Some cases of AIDS-BL, particularly those carrying EBV infection, also secrete IL-6, IL-7 and IL-12. With respect to AIDS-DLCL, many cases express the IL-6R, rendering these cells responsive to the paracrine stimulation by the IL-6 produced by nearby T-cells, macrophages and endothelial cells which are frequently abundant in these tumor samples. The tumor clone itself, however, generally fails to release IL-6. AIDS-PEL is characterized by secretion of large amounts of IL-6 and IL-10. Some PEL cases also release oncostatin M. Apart from human IL,-6, PEL also express viral IL-6, which is encoded by the HHV-8 genome. The biological relevance of both IL-6 and IL-10 in PEL proliferation and growth has been recently clarified in vitro and in vivo. Overall, these data suggest that activation of different cytokine loops clusters with different clinico-pathologic categories of AIDS-NHL and may represent the potential target of novel therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • AIDS
  • Cytokine
  • Lymphoma
  • Pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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