Impact of the HIV epidemic and Anti-Retroviral Treatment policy on lymphoma incidence and subtypes seen in the Western Cape of South Africa, 2002-2009: preliminary findings of the Tygerberg Lymphoma Study Group

Transfus Apher Sci. 2011 Apr;44(2):161-6. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2011.01.007.


The Tygerberg Lymphoma Study Group was constituted in 2007 to quantify the impact of HIV on the pattern and burden of lymphoma cases in the Western Cape of South Africa which currently has an HIV prevalence of 15%. South Africa has had an Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) policy and a roll-out plan since 2004 attaining 31% effective coverage in 2009. This study is designed to qualify and establish the impact of HIV epidemic and the ARV roll-out treatment program on the incidence of HIV Related Lymphoma (HRL). Early data document that despite the ART roll out, cases of HRL are increasing in this geographical location, now accounting for 37% of all lymphomas seen in 2009 which is an increase from 5% in 2002. This is in contrast to trends seen in developed environments following the introduction of ART. Also noted are the emergence of subtypes not previously seen in this location such as Burkitt and plasmablastic lymphomas. Burkitt lymphoma is now the commonest HRL seen in this population followed by diffuse large B-cell lymphoma subtypes. The reasons for this observed increase in HRL are not ascribable to improved diagnostic capacity as the tertiary institute in which these diagnoses are made has had significant expertise in this regard for over a decade. We ascribe this paradoxical finding to an ART treatment environment that is ineffective for a diversity of reasons, paramount of which are poor coverage, late commencement of ART and incomplete viral suppression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Epidemics
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma / virology*
  • Public Health
  • South Africa


  • Anti-HIV Agents