Scientists At Oregon Health Sciences University Discover Why AIDS Patients Often Get B-Cell Lymphoma

October 28, 1997

Scientists at Oregon Health Sciences University have discovered why AIDS patients frequently develop a form of cancer called B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The work appears in the November issue of the journal Nature Medicine and sheds light on how viruses initiate transformations in cells that can lead to cancer.

"It has been observed for years that AIDS patients frequently succumb to a cancer of the lymphatic system called B-cell lymphoma," says Ashlee V. Moses, Ph.D., lead author of the paper and research assistant professor in molecular microbiology and immunology at OHSU. "But it has been unclear why this happens. We now propose an explanation for why B-cells often become cancerous in AIDS patients."

B-cells are important players in the immune system and respond to infection. Moses and colleagues discovered that although B-cells themselves never actually harbor HIV, they are recruited to fight off the invading virus.

"B-cells are recruited by special cells lining the tiny capillaries of the body, called endothelial cells," explains Moses. "Endothelial cells normally play a critical role in signaling immune cells to leave the blood stream and enter the tissues to fight and destroy invading organisms. However in AIDS patients, the endothelial cells are themselves infected by HIV and their signaling mechanism goes awry."

Moses further explains that HIV infection of the endothelial cell causes an unusual cascade of molecular events culminating in cancerous transformation of the B-cell. The HIV- infected endothelial cell displays an abnormally large amount of a signaling molecule called CD40. This signal in turn induces an increased number of adhesion molecules to form on the surface of the endothelial cell. The adhesion molecules support the attachment and growth of malignant B-cells.

"If we could block HIV infection of the endothelial cell, we might be able to preclude the errant signaling that causes the B-cell to become cancerous," says Moses.

Oregon Health & Science University

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to