CD30, first described as the Ki antigen on malignant B cells in Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is also expressed on normal activated B and T cells. It can be cleaved from the cell surface and detected in normal serum as soluble CD30 (sCD30), where it can be an indicator of levels of immune activation. In a cross-sectional study utilizing archived sera at a time point close to but preceding a diagnosis of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-associated non-Hodgkin’s B cell lymphoma, AIDS lymphoma subjects (n = 49) showed elevated mean levels of sCD30 compared to controls with AIDS but no malignancy (n = 44, p < 0.01), HIV-infected but relatively healthy (n = 47, p < 0.001), or HIV-seronegative controls (n = 44, p < 0.001). Serum sCD30 was significantly correlated to serum levels of the B cell cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-10, and sCD23, but only among lymphoma subjects (p ≤ 0.05). Correlations between sCD30 and other markers of immune system activation were seen among all HIV-infected subjects (sCD27, sCD44, CXCL13, p < 0.05). These observations suggest that sCD30, especially in combination with other immune system molecules, could be an important biomarker for an immune system environment conducive to B cell hyperactivation and the development of AIDS-associated B cell lymphoma.
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