Background: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is the most common AIDS-related malignancy in developed countries. An elevated risk of developing NHL persists among HIV-infected individuals in comparison to the general population despite the advent of effective antiretroviral therapy. The mechanisms underlying the development of AIDS-related NHL (A-NHL) are not fully understood, but likely involve persistent B-cell activation and inflammation. Methods: This was a nested case-control study within the ongoing prospective Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS). Cases included 47 HIV-positive male subjects diagnosed with high-grade B-cell NHL. Controls were matched to each case from among participating HIV-positive males who did not develop any malignancy. Matching criteria included time HIV+ or since AIDS diagnosis, age, race and CD4+ cell count. Sera were tested for 161 serum biomarkers using multiplexed beadbased immunoassays. Results: A subset of 17 biomarkers, including cytokines, chemokines, acute phase proteins, tissue remodeling agents and bone metabolic mediators was identified to be significantly altered in A-NHL cases in comparison to controls. Many of the biomarkers included in this subset were positively correlated with HIV viral load. A pathway analysis of our results revealed an extensive network of interactions between current and previously identified biomarkers. Conclusions: These findings support the current hypothesis that A-NHL develops in the context of persistent immune stimulation and inflammation. Further analysis of the biomarkers identified in this report should enhance our ability to diagnose, monitor and treat this disease.
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