Outcomes of HIV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma in the era of antiretroviral therapy

AIDS. 2016 Mar 13;30(5):787-96. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000986.


Objectives: Clinical series suggest favorable outcomes of HIV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma, in conflict with population-based statistics. Our objective was to investigate the proportion of Americans who received curative chemotherapy for this disease, and compare their survival with HIV-negative cases using population data.

Methods: We selected cases of HIV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed in 2004-2012 from the National Cancer Data Base. Factors associated with receipt of chemotherapy were analyzed by logistic regression. Overall survival was compared in proportional hazard models adjusting for available confounding factors.

Results: Among 2090 HIV-positive patients, 81% received chemotherapy, but 16% received no treatment. Advanced age, male sex, nonwhite race, poor socioeconomic status, and undetermined histologic subtype were associated with higher risk of nontreatment. In 2012, 49% of HIV-positive patients were black, and 15% were Hispanic. Unadjusted 5-year overall survival was significantly lower for HIV-positive (66%) than for HIV-negative (80%) populations. However, among patients who received chemotherapy, HIV-positive status was not significantly associated with higher mortality in classical histologic subtypes, including nodular sclerosis (hazard ratio, HR, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, CI, 0.88-1.33) and mixed cellularity (HR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.80-1.40). In contrast, prognosis remained significantly worse for cases with undetermined histology (HR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.31-1.85), suggesting a more aggressive biology or other high-risk characteristics in this subgroup.

Conclusion: Worse survival statistics for HIV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma are driven by lower rates of chemotherapy administration. The disparity in treatment delivery needs attention because a majority of HIV-positive Americans with Hodgkin lymphoma are now black or Hispanic, and this proportion is increasing.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy*
  • Hodgkin Disease / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents