Study Finds That Certain Cancers Are More Common In HIV-Infected Individuals

From AIDSBeacon.com:

A recent study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) found that the incidence of non-AIDS defining malignancies, such as anal and lung cancer, is increased for HIV-infected individuals.

“Non-AIDS defining illnesses” includes all forms of cancers except skin, lymphoma, cervical carcinoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma and some ill-defined cancers. These are considered AIDS defining and are known to be of higher prevalence in HIV-positive individuals.

In this study, it was found that HIV-infected patients also have a higher risk of developing certain non-AIDS defining illnesses.

The study was conducted on 33,420 HIV-infected and 66,840 HIV-uninfected patients for a period between 1997 and 2004. The incidence rate of cancerous malignancies was measured. Factors such as age, gender, and race were taken into account.

The results showed that HIV-infected individuals were 60 percent more likely to have anal, lung, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, melanoma, prostate, and liver cancer than non HIV-infected individuals.

One theory for the possible cause of this trend is that antiretroviral therapy that HIV-positive individuals undergo might increase their risk of developing those particular cancers. Another possibility is that HIV-infected individuals are more prone to traditional risk factors due to lifestyle or other situations.

Another theory is that HIV itself increases an individual’s chance of developing cancer inherently.

One weakness of the study is the lack of female participants; males represented about 98 percent of the study’s population.

This study has led to plans for further research on immune function in patients with or without cancer.

For more information, please see the original study in JAIDS (abstract) and the press release from Southwestern Medical Center.


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