Clinical predictors for the aetiology of peripheral lymphadenopathy in HIV-infected adults


Correspondence: Dr Isaac I. Bogoch, Massachusetts General Hospital, COX 5, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Tel: 416 340 4800; fax: 617 726 7653; e-mail:



The aim of the study was to determine the aetiology and clinical predictors of peripheral lymphadenopathy in HIV-infected individuals during the antiretroviral (ARV) era in a nontuberculosis endemic setting.


A multicentred, retrospective cohort study of peripheral lymph node biopsies in HIV-positive adults was carried out. A total of 107 charts were identified and reviewed for clinical features, lymphadenopathy size, and ARV use and duration. Biopsy results were categorized, and multivariate logistic regression determined independent predictors of lymphadenopathy aetiology.


Evaluation of 107 peripheral lymph node biopsies revealed that 42.9% of peripheral lymphadenopathy was attributable to malignancy, 49.5% to reactive changes, and 7.5% to infections, with only 2.8% of all cases secondary to tuberculosis. Fevers, weight loss, ARV use, and lower viral loads are significantly associated with nonreactive lymphadenopathy.


Lymphadenopathy is likely to be reactive or malignant in nontuberculosis endemic regions. Readily available clinical features can aid clinicians in predicting the underlying aetiology, those at risk for malignancy, and who to biopsy.