The SSALC is established to characterize HIV/AIDS-related lymphoma and the indigenous background of lymphomas in sub-Saharan Africa from which these HIV/AIDS-related lymphomas arise. The SSALC plans to provide training in the current World Health Organization (WHO
) classification of lymphomas to consortium participating pathologists from three regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the origin of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and contains more than twice the number of cases than the rest of the world combined. Yet the HIV epidemic in Africa and associated increase in cancers such as lymphoma has been sparsely documented. A survey of lymphoid neoplasm subtype trends in the US, 1992-2001, found that subtypes defined by the WHO classification varied in prevalence by whether patients were African, Asian or European in ancestry. Findings suggest there is etiologic heterogeneity in lymphoma with risk factors and treatment modalities better defined by analysis of subtypes in more homogeneous populations, particularly those phenotypes associated with HIV/AIDS.
Pathologists from ten African sites representing East, West and South sub-Saharan regions will contribute small tissue cores from 100-200 individual cases for the construction of tissue microarrays (TMA). TMA construction and phenotyping tests will be directed by the participating pathologist and slides digitized during training in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Specimens from 1000-2000 patients will be characterized by the participants consulting with US hematopathologists. Participants in US and Africa will exchange information and images using a secure Internet workspace. An expert panel will review and arbitrate difficult or unusual lymphoma phenotypes. Illustrative lymphoma cases will be published in public web pages and all will be available for review on member private spaces.
The SSALC is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute
(NCI, Washington DC, USA) to the Mid-Region AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource
(MR-ACSR, Columbus, Ohio, USA).