Background: The risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is greatly increased in HIV infection. The aim of this study was to determine whether elevated serum levels of molecules associated with B-cell activation precede the diagnosis of AIDS-associated NHL (AIDS-NHL). Methods: Serum levels of B-cell activation-associated molecules, interleukin (IL)6, IL10, soluble CD23 (sCD23), sCD27, sCD30, C-reactive protein (CRP), and immunoglobulin E were determined in 179 NHL cases and HIV+ controls in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, collected at up to 3 time points per subject, 0 to 5 years prior to AIDS-NHL diagnosis. Results: Serum IL6, IL10, CRP, sCD23, sCD27, and sCD30 levels were all significantly elevated in the AIDS-NHL group, when compared with HIV+ controls or with AIDS controls, after adjusting for CD4 T-cell number. Elevated serum levels of B-cell activation-associated molecules were seen to be associated with the development of systemic [non-CNS (central nervous system)] NHL, but not with the development of primary CNS lymphoma. Conclusions: Levels of certain B-cell stimulatory cytokines and molecules associated with immune activation are elevated for several years preceding the diagnosis of systemic AIDS-NHL. This observation is consistent with the hypothesis that chronic B-cell activation contributes to the development of these hematologic malignancies. Impact: Marked differences in serum levels of several molecules are seen for several years prediagnosis in those who eventually develop AIDS-NHL. Some of these molecules may serve as candidate biomarkers and provide valuable information to better define the etiology of NHL.
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