Antiphospholipid antibodies may be a new prognostic parameter in aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

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Patients with malignancies have an increased prevalence of antiphospholipid antibodies (APA). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of IgG, IgM, and IgA anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) and anti-beta-2 glycoprotein I antibodies (anti-β2-GPI) in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), and to investigate their clinical and prognostic significance.


The study group included 86 patients with NHL. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits were used to measure the concentrations of aCL and anti-β2-GPI, and coagulation tests, to measure lupus anticoagulant (LAC) activity. Blood was collected at diagnosis in all patients and at follow-up in 15. Median follow-up time was 1.9 yr.


Elevated APA levels were found in 35 patients (41%) at diagnosis: one patient aCL IgG, five patients aCL IgM, five aCL IgA, one anti-β2-GPI IgG, 14 anti-β2-GPI IgM, and 19 anti-β2-GPI IgA; LAC activity was found in three of 67 patients (4.5%). There was no significant correlation between elevated APA levels and patient's age or sex, disease stage or grade, bone marrow involvement, B symptoms, serum lactate dehydrogenase levels, serum β2 microglobulin levels, International Prognostic Index (IPI) score, performance status, type of treatment, or response to treatment. There was a correlation between elevated APA and absence of extranodal disease (P = 0.045). A strong negative correlation was found between elevated APA at diagnosis and survival time. Two-year survival was 90 ± 5% for patients without APA at diagnosis compared with 63 ± 11% for patients with an elevated APA levels (P = 0.0025). APA added to the predictive value of IPI for event-free and overall survival.


APA are elevated in 41% of NHL patients at diagnosis and are correlated with shortened survival. Their level may serve as an independent prognostic variable in aggressive NHL.

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