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AIDS Treatment News
Lymphoma: New TAG Report
John S. James
June 2, 1995
AIDS TREATMENT NEWS #224, JUNE 2, 1995

The Treatment Action Group (TAG) has published a 64-page booklet on the current status of AIDS-related lymphoma. THE LYMPHOMA PROJECT REPORT: CURRENT ISSUES IN RESEARCH AND TREATMENT OF AIDS-ASSOCIATED LYMPHOMA, by Michael Marco, with an introduction by Lawrence D. Kaplan, M.D., is based on interviews with dozens of experts.

Lymphoma, of which there are several kinds, is a cancer of the lymphatic system which occurs in HIV-negative as well as HIV-positive persons; it is much more common in persons with immune deficiency (whether caused by HIV, by drugs to prevent rejection of organ transplants, or by other causes) than in the general population. Lymphoma occurs in about five to ten percent of persons with HIV, often after AIDS has been diagnosed (although it is the first AIDS-defining illness in about three percent of persons with AIDS). While it can occur at any CD4 (T-helper) count, the risk is greater when the count is low. However, the length of time one is HIV infected may be a more important risk factor than the degree of immune suppression; for this reason, the number of cases of lymphoma is increasing since people with HIV are now living longer than before. Unlike Kaposi's sarcoma, which occurs mainly in gay men, lymphoma occurs about equally in all HIV risk groups; for unknown reasons, white men are at a slightly higher risk than others.

Sometimes lymphoma is found in a single rapidly-swelling lymph node; in other cases there is no specific sign, and the disease is difficult to diagnose.

Lymphoma can be cured in many cases, with chemotherapy, radiation, or other treatments. But it still remains a major life-threatening condition, with many people living less than a year after diagnosis.

The TAG booklet, first released May 1995 at the 31st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, looks at all aspects of AIDS-related lymphoma, including conventional and experimental treatments. It includes 23 recommendations, mainly for improving future research. The writing is fairly technical, about at a medical-student reading level.

THE LYMPHOMA PROJECT REPORT is available for $10 from Treatment Action Group, 200 East 10th Street #601, New York, NY 10003. It is available free of charge to people living with HIV disease who cannot afford to pay: call TAG at 212/873-9044.

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