HAART Improves Prognosis for AIDS-Related Lymphoma Patients, Study Says
Since doctors began treating patients with highly active antiretroviral therapy, they have seen an improvement in the prognosis for patients with AIDS-related lymphoma, according to a study published in the June 15 issue of the journal Blood. The study suggests that HAART causes the AIDS-related lymphoma to shift to a type of cancer that responds well to chemotherapy (NCI release, 6/1). National Cancer Institute researchers analyzed lymphoma samples from 39 ARL patients who were being treated with a dose-adjusted, five-drug chemotherapy regimen. The researchers found high levels of proteins that suggested the cancers were "particularly well-suited to respond " to the chemotherapy (Little et al., Blood, 6/15). Twenty-nine patients achieved complete response to the chemotherapy and five achieved partial response. Dr. Wyndham Wilson, head of the Lymphoma Clinical Research Section of NCI's Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch, said, "Our findings suggest that the improved immune function associated with HAART has led to a shift in which cells are most likely to give rise to lymphoma. The type of AIDS-related lymphoma most common today responds much more readily to treatment than lymphoma from the pre-HAART era." The study also showed that patients can safely suspend HAART while undergoing chemotherapy. Once chemotherapy was complete, patients returned to their HAART regimens and experienced a drop in viral load and immune recovery (NCI release, 6/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.