Circulating serum free light chains as predictive markers of AIDS-related lymphoma

Ola Landgren, James J. Goedert, Charles S. Rabkin, Wyndham H. Wilson, Kieron Dunleavy, Robert A. Kyle, Jerry A. Katzmann, S. Vincent Rajkumar, Eric A. Engels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Purpose: HIV-infected persons have an elevated risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL); this risk remains increased in the era of effective HIV therapy. We evaluated serum immunoglobulin (Ig) proteins as predictors of NHL risk among HIV-infected individuals. Patients and Methods: By using three cohorts of HIV-infected persons (from 1982 to 2005), we identified 66 individuals who developed NHL and 225 matched (by cohort, sex, ethnicity, age, and CD4 count), HIV-infected, lymphoma-free controls who had available stored prediagnostic blood samples. Serum/plasma samples obtained 0 to 2 years and 2 to 5 years before diagnosis/selection were assayed for IgG, IgM, and IgA levels; monoclonal (M) Igs; and κ and λ free light chain (FLC) levels. Patients and matched controls were compared by using conditional logistic regression. Results: The κ and λ FLCs were both significantly higher in patients (eg, in 2- to 5-year window: median κ, 4.24 v 3.43 mg/dL; median λ, 4.04 v 3.09 mg/dL) and strongly predicted NHL in a dose-response manner up to 2 to 5 years before diagnosis/selection (eg, NHL risk 3.76-fold higher with κ concentration at least 2.00 times the upper limit of normal, and 8.13-fold higher with λ concentration at least 2.00 times the upper limit of normal compared with normal levels). In contrast, IgG, IgM, and IgA levels were similar in patients and controls. M proteins were detected in only two patients with NHL (3%) and in nine controls (4%), and they were not significantly associated with NHL risk. Conclusion: Elevated FLCs may represent sensitive markers of polyclonal B-cell activation and dysfunction and could be useful for identifying HIV-infected persons at increased NHL risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-779
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 10 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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