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Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2006 Feb;19(1):14-9.

AIDS-related malignancies: changing epidemiology and the impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy.

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Department of Oncology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK.



Three cancers in people with HIV denote an AIDS diagnosis: Kaposi's sarcoma, high-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and invasive cervical cancer. In addition a number of other cancers occur at increased frequency in this population group but are not AIDS-defining illnesses. This review discusses the impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy on the epidemiology and outcome of AIDS-defining cancers.


The incidence of both Kaposi's sarcoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has declined in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy and the outcome of both tumours has improved. Moreover, highly active antiretroviral therapy alone produces a response in a majority of antiretroviral-naïve patients with Kaposi's sarcoma. In contrast, highly active antiretroviral therapy has had little impact on the incidence of human papilloma virus-associated tumours (cervical and anal cancer) in people with HIV, although it may improve survival by reducing opportunistic infection deaths. As people with HIV live longer with highly active antiretroviral therapy, an increased incidence of other non AIDS-defining cancers that have no known association with oncogenic infections is becoming apparent.


For those with access to highly active antiretroviral therapy, the good news from the AIDS-defining cancers - particularly Kaposi's sarcoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - may be balanced by the increasing numbers of non AIDS-defining cancers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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