Today at the International AIDS Conference meeting, researchers from the United States, France, Canada, and Romania presented findings on the important clinical topic of malignancies that can develop in people with HIV/AIDS. Scientists from the U.S. National Cancer Institute reported that the rates of so-called “AIDS-defining malignancies,” like Kaposi’s sarcoma and non-Hodkgin lymphoma (NHL), have decreased over time in the United States while the cancer burden for other malignancies, like lung cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and anal cancer has increased among HIV-infected Americans.
Similar findings were presented by researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. They found that—compared to the general population—people with advanced HIV infection had higher rates of liver cancer, anal cancer, and lung cancer. In addition, in general, cancer diagnoses among people with HIV/AIDS occurred at a younger age compared to the general population.
Among men who have sex with men (MSM) who are living with HIV, anal cancer is a particular concern. French researchers reported that rates of pre-cancerous anal lesions among MSM did not improve or change as a result of successful treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), and that French physicians are seeing an increase in anal cancer among HIV-infected MSM—even those on HAART.
Taken together, these findings remind us that ongoing clinical care, including regular screening for cancer and other malignancies, is a necessary component of high-quality care for those living with HIV/AIDS.
If you would like to learn more about the subject of malignancy and HIV, please visit the National Cancer Institute website.