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Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Survival Normalizes to HIV-Negative Rates Despite More Advanced Disease at Diagnosis

By Simon Collins

May/June 2012

High levels of treatment response to chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma (HL) in the HAART era were reported in a combined analysis from five clinics, showing similar rates of event-free and overall survival compared to HIV negative controls.

Chloe Orkin and colleagues analysed all cases of HL diagnosed at five London teaching hospitals from 1997-2010 who were treated with 4-6 cycles of AVBD (adriamycin, bleomycin, viznblastine and dacarbazine). Of these, 97/237 were HIV positive and 90/97 were on HAART during HL treatment. HIV viral load was undetectable in 52/86 HIV positive patients with data and low (<6,000 c/mL) in others but 53% (47/97) had CD4 <200 cells/mm3.

HIV patients were older (median age: 41 vs. 31 years, p<0.001), more likely to be male (88% vs. 59%; p<0.001). They also had more advanced disease. This included higher rates of: mixed cellularity (54% vs. 19%, p<0.001), stage 3/4 at diagnosis (80% vs. 33%; p<0.001), B-symptoms (81% vs. 36%; p<0.001), Hb <10.5 g/dL (46% vs. 20%; p<0.001), albumin <4 g/dL (76% vs. 35%, p<0.001) and a higher International Prognostic Score (IPS 3 in 71% vs. 22%; p<0.001).

Over median follow-up of 59 months (range 8-172), similar response rates (74% vs. 81%), duration of response (33 vs. 44 months), 5-year event-free survival (59% vs. 65%) and 5-year overall survival (79% vs. 88%) were seen in the HIV positive vs. HIV negative groups respectively, see Table 1. In the combined group, 40 patients relapsed at a median time of 7 months (range: 1-106).

Table 1: Responses to ABVD Chemotherapy in HIV-Positive vs. HIV-Negative People
HIV positive HIV negative p-value
Complete response rate 74% 81% NS
Median duration of response 33 mo 48 mo NS
5-yr event-free survival 59%

(95%CI: 46-69)


(95%CI: 56-72)

5-yr overall survival 79%

(95%CI: 67-87)


(95%CI: 80-92)

p=0.06 (NS)


These results are important and impressive, despite including data from the early HAART era, and especially given the more advanced disease at HL diagnosis.


Orkin C et al. HIV Status does not Impact on Outcome in Patients with Hodgkin Lymphoma Treated with ABVD Chemotherapy in the HAART Era. 18th BHIVA Conference, 18-20 April 2012, Birmingham. Oral abstract O13.

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