Cancer patients with HIV have higher mortality rates

This article originally appeared here.
HIV increases the rates of mortality in several common cancers.
HIV increases the rates of mortality in several common cancers.

HealthDay News — Patients with HIV and cancer have increased cancer-specific mortality, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Anna E. Coghill, PhD, from the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues examined the effect of HIV on cancer-specific mortality. Cases of 14 common cancers were identified in six U.S. states participating in a linkage of cancer and HIV/AIDS registries. Data were included for 1,816,461 patients with cancer, of whom 0.36% were HIV positive.

Compared to patients without the disease, the researchers found that patients with HIV had significantly elevated cancer-specific mortality for many cancers: colorectum (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.49), pancreas (aHR, 1.71), larynx (aHR, 1.62), lung (aHR, 1.28), melanoma (aHR, 1.72), breast (aHR, 2.61), and prostate (aHR, 1.57).

For anal cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, HIV was not associated with increased cancer-specific mortality. HIV remained associated with elevated cancer-specific mortality in non-AIDS-defining cancers: colorectum, lung, melanoma, and breast cancers (aHRs, 1.40, 1.28, 1.93, and 2.64), after further adjustment for cancer treatment.

"The elevation in cancer-specific mortality among HIV-infected patients may be attributable to unmeasured stage or treatment differences as well as a direct relationship between immunosuppression and tumor progression," the researchers wrote.


  1. Coghill AE et al. J Clin Oncol. 2015; doi:10.1200/JCO.2014.59.5967.
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