Thirty four patients positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who had lymphadenopathy were investigated using fine needle aspiration. Cytological analysis included immunocytochemical investigation with the alkaline phosphatase-antialkaline phosphatase (APAAP) method. All patients had confirmation of cytological diagnosis by lymph node biopsy. Fifteen aspirates with follicular hyperplasia were evaluated. Eleven patients showed B cell predominance. The B cell population did not show light chain restriction. Ten patients with B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (five with Burkitt's lymphoma and five with B cell immunoblastic lymphoma) were investigated. Nine out of 10 cases were monoclonal with respect to their light chain determinants; only one case with Burkitt's lymphoma with partial lymph node metastasis did not show light chain restriction. The cytological diagnosis included two mycobacterial infections and four cystic lesions. Histological investigation was necessary to diagnose the extent of lymph node disease caused by Kaposi's sarcoma. These findings indicate that the immunocytological investigation of lymph node aspirates is useful for evaluating lymphadenopathy in HIV positive patients.
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