Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment of both HIV and Burkitt lymphoma (BL), persons living with HIV remain at high risk for BL. We conducted this study to evaluate if there have been any changes in the risk of or survival after BL diagnosis among persons living with HIV during the antiretroviral era.
Veterans living with HIV (VLWH) and age-matched HIV-negative controls receiving care between 1999 and 2016 were retrospectively identified using Veterans Health Administration electronic medical records.
We identified BL diagnoses through Veterans Health Administration Cancer Registry review and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth/Tenth Revisions, codes, and we extracted demographic, lifestyle, and clinical variables from electronic medical record. We estimated hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for BL risk and survival using Cox proportional models.
We identified 45,299 VLWH. Eighty-four developed BL (incidence rate = 21.2 per 100,000 person years; CI: 17.1 to 26.3). Median CD4 count at BL diagnosis was 238 cells per milliliter (SD: 324.74) and increased over time. Survival was truncated in VLWH with BL (P < 0.05). The risk of BL in VLWH was 38% less in blacks compared with whites (HR: 0.620; CI: 0.393 to 0.979; P = 0.0401). VLWH with an undetectable viral load for at least 40% of follow-up were 74% less likely to develop BL (HR: 0.261; CI: 0.143 to 0.478; P < 0.0001) and 86% less likely to die after diagnosis (HR: 0.141; CI: 0.058 to 0.348; P < 0.0001).
BL incidence among VLWH did not improve between 2000 and 2016. Survival after BL diagnosis in VLWH remains dismal as compared with their HIV-negative counterparts, although veterans with prolonged periods of undetectable viral load had improved prognosis.