HIV Linked to Increased Risk for Both First and Second Primary Cancer Incidence

The increased risk of cancer is due in part to people living with HIV living longer, thanks to advances like antiretroviral therapy.

The association between HIV and an increased risk of cancer is well-documented, with people in the United States having an approximately

50% increased rate

of being diagnosed with cancer compared to the general population. Now, new research is pointing to an increased risk for both first and secondary cancer incidence among the patient population.

The increased risk of cancer is due in part to people living with HIV living longer, thanks to advances like antiretroviral therapy. As these patients live longer, with compromised immune systems, they become more susceptible to both AIDS-defining and non-AIDS—defining cancers.

“The combination of older age, extended duration of immunosuppression, longer latency period for oncogenic viruses, and ongoing environmental exposures such as tobacco and alcohol use, puts people living with HIV at heightened risk for malignancies over time,” wrote the researchers of the study.

Compromised immune systems, combined with the fact that cancer survivors are more likely to be diagnosed with a second malignancy, puts people living with HIV at an even greater risk of developing a second primary cancer, according to the study of 22,623 patients diagnosed with HIV between January 1, 1990, and December 21, 2010.

Among these patients, there were 4545 incident primary cancers, accounting for 4144 first primary cancers, 372 second primary cancers, 26 third primary cancers, and 3 fourth or later primary cancers. People living with HIV had higher standardized incidence ratios for 14 first primary cancers, including: Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cervical cancer, anal cancer, vulvar cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, eye and orbit cancer, lip cancer, penile cancer, liver cancer, miscellaneous cancer, testicular cancer, tongue cancer, and lung cancer.

Click to continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.