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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2004 Aug 1;36(4):978-85.

Cancer risk among participants in the women's interagency HIV study.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 94122, USA.



The HIV epidemic has been associated with an increased incidence of specific cancers. However, less is known about cancers occurring in HIV-infected women than men.


To determine the risk of cancer among HIV-infected and at-risk HIV-uninfected women, cancer incidence data from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) were compared with data from the population-based United States Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry. Age- and race-adjusted standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were computed and exact statistical tests were used to measure significance.


Among the 1950 women participants (1554 HIV infected, 391 HIV uninfected, and 5 HIV seroconverters), 48 cancers were diagnosed during study follow-up. Among HIV-infected women, significantly (P < 0.05) increased incidence rates were observed for all cancer types (SIR = 1.9), Kaposi sarcoma (SIR = 213.5), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (SIR = 19.0), and lung cancer (SIR = 6.3) when compared with SEER rates. Lung cancer incidence was also elevated (P = 0.07) among the HIV-uninfected women (SIR = 6.9), when compared with SEER rates, and was similar to the SIR for HIV-infected women. While the incidence rate of NHL among HIV-infected women was significantly lower during the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) compared with the pre-HAART era (relative risk = 0.15, P = 0.005), the incidence of NHL among HIV-infected WIHS participants remained significantly higher than in the US population (SIR = 6.4, 95% CI = 1.3-15.5).


In the HAART era, the higher rates of cancer among HIV-infected women, coupled with increased life expectancy, should lead to more intensive cancer screening and prevention efforts in this population.

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