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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2003 May;127(5):589-92.

Non-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-defining malignancies in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

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  • 1Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY, USA.



Non-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining malignancies that occur in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the demographics and pathologic features associated with these malignancies have not been completely defined.


This study describes the age of onset of malignant disease in patients seropositive for HIV and in control patients presumed to be negative for HIV, but with the same primary site. We compare the demographics and histopathology for both groups.


From 1993 to 1997, 57 cases involving HIV-positive patients with malignancies from 16 primary sites were recorded in the Cancer Registry files at Bellevue Hospital; 519 cases involving patients negative for HIV were recorded during this same period. We compared the age at diagnosis, sex, race, tumor histology, stage, and grade between these 2 groups.


The average age of HIV-positive patients was 47.6 years, compared with 60.3 years in the control group (P <.001). When the 16 cancer sites were compared individually, HIV-positive patients were significantly younger at onset of lung (HIV-positive patients/control group) (19/245), skin (11/77), penile (3/5), laryngeal (3/18), tongue (5/16), and colorectal (2/38) carcinomas. Patients infected with HIV had a more frequent history of smoking (41/328; P =.04) and illicit drug use (30/49; P <.001). The HIV-positive patients also were found to have a lower clinical stage of disease, compared with controls, largely due to the higher prevalence of stage 0 tumors (13/46; P =.01).


The finding of younger age at diagnosis in HIV-positive compared to presumed HIV-negative patients may be related in part to earlier detection, as well as preexisting immunosuppression. The specific sites for which a significant difference in age between the HIV-positive and control cases was observed may be related to the mechanisms of immunosurveillance in parts of the body that have ready access to the outside environment. Knowledge of younger age of onset for these malignancies should prompt closer physical examination of these sites by clinicians.

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