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August 2015 – Representing the first published report of Multicentric Castleman disease in SSA, this article describes the characteristics and survival for HIV-associated Multicentric Castleman disease in Malawi.

characteristics of MCD, HIV
Overall survival for HIV-associated multicentric Castleman disease, lymph node Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma at Kamuzu Central Hospital, Lilongwe, Malawi

Characteristics and survival for HIV-associated multicentric Castleman disease in Malawi

Gopal S, Liomba NG, Montgomery ND, Moses A, Kaimila B, Nyasosela R, Chikasema M, Dhungel BM, Kampani C, Sanders MK, Krysiak R, Dittmer DP, Fedoriw Y.

Journal of the International AIDS Society 

Full text available at PubMed and Journal of the International AIDS society



Clinical reports of multicentric Castleman disease (MCD) from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are scarce despite high prevalence of HIV and Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Our objective is to describe characteristics and survival for HIV-associated MCD patients in Malawi. To our knowledge, this is the first HIV-associated MCD case series from the region.

We describe HIV-positive patients with MCD in Lilongwe, and compare them to HIV-associated lymph node Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients treated at our centre. All patients were enrolled into a prospective longitudinal cohort study at a national teaching hospital and cancer referral centre serving half of Malawi’s 16 million people. We included adult patients≥18 years of age with HIV-associated MCD (n=6), lymph node KS (n=5) or NHL (n=31) enrolled between 1 June 2013 and 31 January 2015.

Results and Discussion
MCD patients had a median age of 42.4 years (range 37.2-51.8). All had diffuse lymphadenopathy and five had hepatosplenomegaly. Concurrent KS was present for one MCD patient, and four had performance status ≥3. MCD patients had lower median haemoglobin (6.4 g/dL, range 3.6-9.3) than KS (11.0 g/dL, range 9.1-12.0, p=0.011) or NHL (11.2 g/dL, range 4.5-15.1, p=0.0007). Median serum albumin was also lower for MCD (2.1 g/dL, range 1.7-3.2) than KS (3.7 g/dL, range 3.2-3.9, p=0.013) or NHL (3.4 g/dL, range 1.8-4.8, p=0.003). All six MCD patients were on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with median CD4 count 208 cells/µL (range 108-1146), and all with HIV RNA <400 copies/mL. Most KS and NHL patients were also on ART, although ART duration was longer for MCD (56.4 months, range 18.2-105.3) than KS (14.2 months, range 6.8-21.9, p=0.039) or NHL (13.8 months, range 0.2-98.8, p=0.017). Survival was poorer for MCD patients than lymph node KS or NHL.

HIV-associated MCD occurs in Malawi, is diagnosed late and is associated with high mortality. Improvements in awareness, diagnostic facilities, treatment and supportive care are needed to address this likely under-recognized public health problem in SSA.