AIDS Linked to Lymphoma: CNS Involvement Is Vital

There are a number of connections between diseases that are well-documented and studied. There are also different systems in the body that seem to bear a connection with different diseases. HIV and AIDS seem to have connections with other diseases and with certain networks in the body. For example, doctors are aware that many who present with HIV or AIDS have a greater risk of developing lymphoma. New research shows that not only is AIDS linked to lymphoma, but that the operation of the central nervous system (CNS) also plays a role. The CNS is apparently closely linked to the lymphomas experienced by those with HIV and AIDS. What does this finding mean for a prognosis?

Researchers found that when a person has AIDS, they are at greater risk for lymphoma with central nervous system involvement. As the name suggests, lymphomas normally attack the lymph nodes. The next most common site, however, is the central nervous system. It appears the prognosis is not much different for HIV patients that present with either of these lymphomas. The study, however, found that when treating for cancer, CNS relapse was nearly 3 times more likely to happen in a person with AIDS. Moreover, because this form of cancer is particularly aggressive, the survival rate tends to be low. The hope is that knowing this link exists will help physicians to earlier detect and more effectively treat the disease. (Most people are probably aware that all forms of cancer are easier to treat the earlier that they are diagnosed).

After close consideration of cases of AIDS linked to lymphoma, it was noted that the majority presented with end-stage cancer. This may indicate that during the original diagnosis the CNS involvement may have been overlooked and, therefore, left untreated. Armed with this new information, doctors expect to be able to identify the disease sooner. Researchers, too, are looking into how the CNS is involved. The hope, of course, is this will lead to better treatment options in the future.