Lymphoid proliferations associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013 Mar;137(3):360-70. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2012-0095-RA.


Context: Individuals who are immune deficient are at an increased risk for developing lymphoproliferative lesions and lymphomas. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is 1 of 4 clinical settings associated with immunodeficiency recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in which there is an increased incidence of lymphoma and other lymphoproliferative disorders.

Objectives: To describe the major categories of benign lymphoid proliferations, including progressive HIV-related lymphadenopathy, benign lymphoepithelial cystic lesions, and multicentric Castleman disease, as well as the different types of HIV-related lymphomas as defined by the WHO. The characteristic morphologic, immunophenotypic, and genetic features of the different entities will be discussed in addition to some of the pathogenetic mechanisms.

Data sources: The WHO classification of tumors of hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues (2001 and 2008), published literature from PubMed (National Library of Medicine), published textbooks, and primary material from the authors' current and previous institutions.

Conclusions: HIV infection represents one of the clinical settings recognized by the WHO in which immunodeficiency-related lymphoproliferative disorders may arise. Although most lymphomas that arise in patients with HIV infection are diffuse, aggressive B-cell lesions, other lesions, which are "benign" lymphoid proliferations, may also be associated with significant clinical consequences. These lymphoproliferations, like many other immunodeficiency-associated lymphoproliferative disorders, are often difficult to classify. Studies of HIV-associated lymphoid proliferations will continue to increase our understanding of both the immune system and lymphomagenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / pathology
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / pathology*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / virology*