CD4/CD8 ratio and CD8+ T-cell count as prognostic markers for non-AIDS mortality in people living with HIV. A systematic review and meta-analysis


BACKGROUND: In people living with HIV (PLHIV), the CD4/CD8 ratio has been proposed as a useful marker for non-AIDS events. However, its predictive ability on mortality over CD4 counts, and the role of CD8+ T-cell counts remain controversial. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies from 1996 to 2023, including PLHIV on antiretroviral treatment, and reporting CD4/CD8 ratio or CD8+ counts. The primary outcome was non-AIDS mortality or all-cause mortality. We performed a standard random-effects pairwise meta-analysis comparing low versus high CD4/CD8 ratio with a predefined cut-off point of 0.5. (CRD42020170931). FINDINGS: We identified 2,479 studies for screening. 20 studies were included in the systematic review. Seven studies found an association between low CD4/CD8 ratio categories and increased mortality risk, with variable cut-off points between 0.4-1. Four studies were selected for meta-analysis, including 12,893 participants and 618 reported deaths. Patients with values of CD4/CD8 ratio below 0.5 showed a higher mortality risk (OR 3.65; 95% CI 3.04–4.35;  I2 = 0.00%) compared to those with higher values. While the meta-analysis of CD8+ T-cell counts was not feasible due to methodological differences between studies, the systematic review suggests a negative prognostic impact of higher values (>1,138 to 1,500 cells/uL) in the long term. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the use of the CD4/CD8 ratio as a prognostic marker in clinical practice, especially in patients with values below 0.5, but consensus criteria on ratio timing measurement, cut-off values, and time to event are needed in future studies to get more robust conclusions.


Ron R, Martínez-Sanz J, Herrera S, Ramos-Ruperto L, Díez-Vidal A, Sainz T, Álvarez-Díaz N, Correa-Pérez A, Muriel A, López-Alcalde J, Pérez-Molina JA, Moreno S, Serrano-Villar S




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population


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