Background: There is increasing evidence that chronic immune activation predisposes to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Whether this association exists among women representative of the current HIV epidemic in the United States who are at high risk of HIV-associated NHL (AIDS-NHL), remains to be determined. Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study within the Women's Interagency HIV Study with longitudinally collected risk factor data and sera. Cases were HIV-infected women with stored sera collected at three time-windows 3 to 5 years, 1 to 3 years, and 0 to 1 year before AIDS-NHL diagnosis (n = 22). Three to six HIV-infected controls, without AIDS-NHL, were matched to each case on age, race, CD4+ T-cell count, and study follow-up time (n = 78). ORs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between one unit increase in log-transformed biomarker levels and AIDS-NHL were computed using random effect multivariate logistic regression models. Results: Elevated levels of sCD27 (OR = 7.21; 95% CI, 2.62-19.88), sCD30 (OR = 2.64; 95% CI, 1.24-5.64), and CXCL13 (OR = 2.56; 95% CI, 1.32-4.96) were associated with subsequent diagnosis of AIDS-NHL overall. Elevated sCD23 was associated with a two to three-fold increased risk of AIDS-NHL in certain subgroups, whereas elevated interleukin 6was associated with a two-fold increased risk in the 0 to 1 year time-window, only. Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis that chronic B-cell activation contributes to the development of AIDS-NHL in women.
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