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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Spontaneous Regression of Refractory Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma with Improvement in Immune Status with ART in a Patient with HIV: A Case Report and Literature Review

Unusual clinical course, Unusual or unexpected effect of treatment, Unexpected drug reaction

Birendra K.C., Muhammad Zubair Afzal, Katherine A. Wentland, Hamza Hashmi, Sudhir Singh, Elena Ivan, Nehal Lakhani

USA Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Am J Case Rep 2015; 16:347-352

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.892883

Available online:

Published: 2015-06-05


BACKGROUND: Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma accounts for the large majority of AIDS-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Traditionally, this lymphoma has been treated with CHOP-like regimens with the recent addition of rituximab. We report a unique case where an HIV-infected patient with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma had complete regression of the lymphoma with continued antiretroviral therapy (ART) after chemotherapy was stopped.
CASE REPORT: A 55-year-old man who presented with fatigue and weight loss had initial CT findings of bilateral renal masses during his workup. Biopsy revealed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and subsequently he was also diagnosed with HIV. He completed 6 cycles of CHOP-like (4 cycles of EPOCH-R and 2 cycles of R-CHOP) first-line therapy with significant dose delays and dose reductions due to severe adverse effects. Chemotherapy was stopped due to physical deconditioning and intolerable adverse effects. He had a FDG-PET/CT showing progression of his disease 8 weeks after completing chemotherapy. He was maintained only on ART after finishing 6 cycles of chemotherapy. With this therapy alone and with improvement in his immune status, his lymphoma regressed completely.
CONCLUSIONS: There are very few reported cases in which lymphoma has regressed with treatment of HIV alone, as is regression of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. This case emphasizes that ART can lead to immune reconstitution of HIV-infected patients and can establish the anti-tumor effect, causing regression of the lymphoma.

Keywords: HIV Infections - complications, HIV, Biopsy, Immunity, Innate, Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse - immunology, Remission, Spontaneous, Tomography, X-Ray Computed