Does HIV Infection Boost Lung Cancer Risk in Men?

Does HIV Infection Boost Lung Cancer Risk in Men?

The association of HIV infection and cancer is well documented. This association is more obvious with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining cancers, namely Kaposi’s sarcoma, certain high-grade B cell lymphomas, primary central nervous system lymphomas, and invasive cervical cancer.1 On the other hand, the relationship between non-AIDS defining cancers that don't have an infectious component and HIV infection is less well understood.

For example, a previous study of more than 10 000 subjects found no association between HIV infection and lung cancer in a sample of women. There was also no statistically significant increase in risk in a sample of men after adjustment for prior AIDS diagnosis.2     

A recent study by Italian investigators sought to re-examine the association between HIV infection and non-AIDS defining malignancies including lung cancer. The study was presented at the 23rd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Berlin.3 The investigators retrospectively analyzed the records of 5,090 HIV-infected patients in Italy and examined the local cancer registry to examine the incidence of non-AIDS defining cancers. In this population, the most common cancers were non-melanoma skin cancer (29.7%), lung cancer (16.7%), and breast cancer (7.3%).3

Interestingly the study found that HIV-infected males were at a higher risk for cancer (standardized incidence ratio [SIR], 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.55 to 2.26) than people in the general population. Risk was increased for lung carcinoma (SIR =3.59; 95%, CI, 2.36 to 5.45) and testis cancer (SIR =3.11; 95% CI, 1.48 to 6.52). On the other hand, no differences were found in the risk of prostate and breast cancers in HIV-positive men (SIR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.53 to 2.32) and women (SIR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.74). The only predictors of non-AIDS defining non-virus related cancers were older age (incidence rate ratio (IRR) =1.10; 95% CI, 1.08 to 1.12 per each additional year) and a shorter exposure or no exposure to HAART therapy (IRR =2.31; 95% CI, 1.38 to 3.89, p =.002).3

Cancer as a cause of morbidity and mortality may increase in an aging HIV population and so all healthcare providers will need to approach signs and symptoms in these patients with a heightened index of suspicion.

1. Engels EA, Pfeiffer RM, Goedert JJ, et al. Trends in cancer risk among people with AIDS in the United States 1980–2002. AIDS. 2006;201645–1654. (Abstract)

2. Hessol NA,  Martinez-Maza O, Levine A, et al. Incidence and risk factors for lung cancer among women in the women’s interagency HIV study (WIHS) and men in the multicenter AIDS cohort study (MACS).  Infect Agent Cancer. 2012;7(Suppl 1):O24.  (Abstract)

3. Albini L, Calabresi A, Gotti D, et al. Burden of non-virus-related, non-AIDS-defining cancers among HIV-infected patients in the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2013;29:1097-104. (Full text)


Loading comments...
Please Wait 20 seconds or click here to close