Molecular pathology of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related non- Hodgkin's lymphoma Review uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin


  • The incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is greatly increased in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. Most are clinically aggressive B-cell lymphomas exhibiting Burkitt-type, immunoblastic or large-cell morphology. Approximately 80% arise systemically (nodal or extranodal), and the remaining 20% arise in the central nervous system. A small proportion are body cavity-based (primary effusion) lymphomas associated with Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection. Possible factors contributing to lymphoma development include HIV-induced immunosuppression, chronic antigenic stimulation, and cytokine overproduction. These phenomena are associated with the development of oligoclonal B-cell expansions. The appearance of malignant lymphoma is characterized by the presence of a monoclonal B-cell population displaying a variety of genetic lesions including Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections, c-myc gene rearrangement, bcl-6 gene rearrangement, ras gene mutations, and p53 gene mutations/deletions. The number and type of genetic lesions varies according to anatomic site of origin and histopathology. In the case of Burkitt-type lymphoma, virtually 100% exhibit c-myc gene rearrangement, two thirds display p53 gene mutations, one third contain EBV, and none exhibit bcl-6 gene rearrangements. In contrast, in the case of immunoblastic lymphoma, virtually 100% contain EBV, 25% display c-myc gene rearrangements, 20% display bcl-6 gene rearrangements, and few exhibit p53 gene mutations. These findings suggest that more than one pathogenetic mechanism is operational in the development and progression of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related lymphoma. Further work is necessary to develop a thorough understanding of the origin and pathogenesis of malignant lymphoma in the setting of HIV infection. AIDS-related lymphoma remains an important biologic model for investigating the development and progression of high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas as well as malignant lymphomas that develop in immune-deficient hosts.

publication date

  • February 25, 1997



  • Review



  • eng

PubMed ID

  • 9044511

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 67

end page

  • 82


  • 14


  • 1