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Physicians may need to dig deeper when treating HIV-related lymphomas

SAN DIEGO (Dec. 6, 2004)-When it comes to treating HIV-positive patients with blood cancers, not all lymphomas are created equal, according to hematologists from the University of Southern California.

Although physicians have treated all types of lymphomas in HIV/AIDS patients with the same drug regimens, researchers from the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital say the drugs are significantly more effective in patients with diffuse large-cell lymphoma, or DLCL, than in patients with small non-cleaved, or SNC, lymphoma. The findings, reported at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology, suggest that researchers rethink the practice of using the same uniform treatment for everyone with AIDS-related lymphomas.

"Lymphoma is not one disease, but rather represents a group of over 30 different entities. Even lymphomas that were thought to be quite uniform and homogeneous are now recognized as being made up of different variations or sub-types. It will be important for scientists and physicians to recognize these various types, since optimal therapy in the future will probably differ for these sub-types of disease," says senior author Alexandra M. Levine, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Medicine, chief of hematology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and medical director of the USC/Norris Cancer Hospital.

The USC hematologists reviewed records of more than 350 patients with the AIDS-related lymphomas treated at USC/Norris between 1982 and early 2004; 135 patients had SNC and 227 patients had DLCL.

The researchers looked at cases occurring before the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, in 1996, as well as after the introduction of the successful anti-HIV therapy. They saw 117 SNC cases and 143 DLCL cases before HAART, and 18 SNC and 84 DLCL cases after HAART.

Throughout the period, all lymphoma patients were treated for their cancers with one of two equivalent, common chem
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Contact: Sarah Huoh
shuoh@usc.edu
323-442-2830
University of Southern California
6-Dec-2004


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