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March 2016 – With no previous prospective studies of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated with CHOP in sub-Saharan Africa, results of this study suggest that CHOP can be safe, effective, and feasible for treating aggressive NHL among HIV+/- individuals in Malawi.

Overall survival for aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Lilongwe, stratified by HIV status. There was no statistically significant difference in survival between the two groups.

CHOP Chemotherapy for Aggressive Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma with and without HIV in the Antiretroviral Therapy Era in Malawi.

Gopal S, Fedoriw Y, Kaimila B, Montgomery ND, Kasonkanji E, Moses A, Nyasosela R, Mzumara S, Varela C, Chikasema M, Makwakwa V, Itimu S, Tomoka T, Kamiza S, Dhungel BM, Chimzimu F, Kampani C, Krysiak R, Richards KL, Shea TC, Liomba NG.

PLoS One

Full text available at PubMed and PLoS One



There are no prospective studies of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) treated with CHOP in sub-Saharan Africa.

We enrolled adults with aggressive NHL in Malawi between June 2013 and May 2015. Chemotherapy and supportive care were standardized, and HIV+ patients received antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Thirty-seven of 58 patients (64%) were HIV+. Median age was 47 years (IQR 39-56), and 35 (60%) were male. Thirty-five patients (60%) had stage III/IV, 43 (74%) B symptoms, and 28 (48%) performance status ≥2. B-cell NHL predominated among HIV+ patients, and all T-cell NHL occurred among HIV- individuals. Thirty-one HIV+ patients (84%) were on ART for a median 9.9 months (IQR 1.1-31.7) before NHL diagnosis, median CD4 was 121 cells/μL (IQR 61-244), and 43% had suppressed HIV RNA. HIV+ patients received a similar number of CHOP cycles compared to HIV- patients, but more frequently developed grade 3/4 neutropenia (84% vs 31%, p = 0.001), resulting in modestly lower cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin doses with longer intervals between cycles. Twelve-month overall survival (OS) was 45% (95% CI 31-57%). T-cell NHL (HR 3.90, p = 0.017), hemoglobin (HR 0.82 per g/dL, p = 0.017), albumin (HR 0.57 per g/dL, p = 0.019), and IPI (HR 2.02 per unit, p<0.001) were associated with mortality. HIV was not associated with mortality, and findings were similar among patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Twenty-three deaths were from NHL (12 HIV+, 11 HIV-), and 12 from CHOP (9 HIV+, 3 HIV-).

CHOP can be safe, effective, and feasible for aggressive NHL in Malawi with and without HIV.