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AIDS-related lymphomas in Nigeria an emerging phenomenon


In comparison to the western world, aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) including primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma, as AIDS-defining disease, is less common in sub-Saharan Africa even with its high HIV/AIDS prevalence. We studied the occurrence of HIV/AIDS-related lymphomas in Nigerian patients with a view toward highlighting the incidence.

Patients and method

Consecutive cases of histologically and/or cytologically confirmed lymphoma screened for HIV (after appropriate counseling) and seen between January 2003 and December 2009 were the subjects. Types and treatment outcome of lymphoma in the HIV-positive group were further studied. Data were analyzed using appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics.


There were 161 cases comprising NHL, 42 (25.5%); HL, 15 (9.3%), and BL, 104, (64.6%). Seven (4.3%), aged 2-49 (median = 41) years were retroviral positive. Of these, 4 (3 males, 1 female, aged 28-49 (median = 38.5) years) had NHL, 2 (both females) HL, and 1 case, a 2-year-old boy with HIV since birth, had Burkitt’s and an HIV-positive mother. All, except one female with stage 1 HL, presented late (at least clinical stage IIIb). Three patients with NHL and 1 with late-stage HL succumbed to their disease within 1-3 weeks of hospital admission. The remaining 3 patients had been responding satisfactorily to chemotherapy (CHOP for NHL, ABVD for HL, and COM for Burkitt’s lymphoma.)


Compared to earlier reports from Nigeria, the AIDS-related lymphomas rate of 4.3% in the series indicated rising incidence. AIDS-associated BL of 0.1%, in spite of high background prevalence of Burkitt’s lymphoma (>60% of lymphomas), supported its relative rarity. With longer survival and longer immunosuppression, closely following up AIDS patients on HAART would be justified, as more cases of AIDS-related lymphomas may possibly emerge in the future.


AIDS-Associated Malignancies Management Team, OAUTHC ILE-IFE Nigeria.

This article has been published as part of Infectious Agents and Cancer Volume 5 Supplement 1, 2010: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Malignancies in AIDS and Other Acquired Immunodeficiencies (ICMAOI).The full contents of the supplement are available online at

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Correspondence to L Salawu.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Salawu, L., Bolarinwa, R., Lawal, O. et al. AIDS-related lymphomas in Nigeria an emerging phenomenon. Infect Agents Cancer 5 (Suppl 1), A3 (2010).

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