(lymph node cancer)

  • Complaints that are consistent with lymphomas are fatigue, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss
  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma, Castleman and Hodgkin lymphoma's are more commonly seen in people with HIV infection




A lymphoma is a malignant cancer of cells that are often located in the lymph node. Lymphomas can occur in both men and women and at all ages. There are many different types of lymphomas.
A lymphoma is caused by abnormal lymphocytes. These are cells that have to do with the immune system. We have both T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. In a lymphoma, these cells proliferate, which means that they grow much too fast and multiply quickly. In HIV we mainly see lymphomas that are caused by B lymphocytes. 


Complaints of a lymphoma are a palpable swelling of one or more lymph nodes in the neck, in the armpit or in the groin. In addition, there may be complaints of fatigue, fever, night sweats, weight loss, loss of appetite or itching.


Types of lymphomas that may occur in people with HIV:

  • DLBCL (diffuse large B-cell lymphoma)
  • Burkitt's lymphoma
  • Castleman
  • Hodgkin's Lymphoma


Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is a non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is caused by B lymphocytes. The mean age at diagnosis is 64 years. The cause of DLBCL is usually unknown, but sometimes viruses, such as HIV or another viral infection, play a role in its development. If someone is diagnosed with DLBCL, they will be tested for these viruses. DLBCL is treated with chemotherapy.


Burkitt's lymphoma

Burkitt's lymphoma is a fast-growing lymphoma. It usually occurs in young adults. Treatment is started immediately upon diagnosis, as the lymphoma grows very quickly. The treatment consists of intensive chemotherapy.



Castleman's disease is rare. One or more lymph nodes are affected.

The complaints that are reported can be found under the heading 'symptoms'. The diagnosis is often made in people between the ages of 35 and 50. It is equally common in men and women. People with weakened immune systems have a high risk of getting Castleman's disease. If Castleman's disease occurs in multiple lymph nodes, it is often caused by Human Herpes virus 8 (HHV8).


Hodgkin's lymphoma:

Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed approximately 350 times each year. This concerns about 15% of malignant lymphomas. Hodgkin's lymphoma mainly occurs in young adults. Symptoms of Hodgkin's lymphoma are as described on this page, under 'symptoms'. Hodgkin lymphoma is treated with chemotherapy and radiation.

HIV and lymphomas

In an HIV infection, the T lymphocytes are attacked. Because the T lymphocytes do not work properly, the B cells are over-stimulated. In addition, other viruses can also play a role, such as Epstein-Barr virus or a human herpes virus 8. Together, they also provides B-cell stimulation.

Due to this chronic B-cell stimulation in combination with a reduced immune system, there is a good chance that a mistake will occur in the DNA of the B-lymphocyte. This can cause the B lymphocyte to divide very quickly and eventually cause a lymphoma.
HIV indicator conditions are conditions or symptoms that occur more often in people with an underlying HIV infection than in people without an HIV infection. Lymphoma's are one of the HIV indicator conditions. If you have or have had a Lymphoma and have not been tested for HIV, it is advisable to ask your doctor or general practitioner for an HIV test. Find it difficult to ask for an HIV test? You may download a call card that will help you formulate your question.