(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – HIV-infected women found to have a high prevalence of high grade anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN) during screening for anal cancer, according to researchers from Montefiore Medical Center, New York, NY. The study, entitled “High Prevalence of High Grade Anal Intraepithelial Neoplasia in HIV-infected Women Screened for Anal Cancer,” was published ahead print in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes on May 1.

“Anal cancer was widely associated with HIV-infected men who have sex with men,” said Mark H. Einstein, MD, MS, Director of Clinical Research, Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Montefiore Medical Center and Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “But now, this study reveals anal precancerous disease in a high proportion of women with HIV.”

The investigators aimed to determine a consensus for the optimal screening of anal cancer in the HIV-positive population. In this study, 715 asymptomatic women from a high-prevalence HIV-positive community (1.8% of residential population is HIV-positive) were screened for anal cancer with anal cytology and triage to high-resolution anoscopy (HRA).

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The investigators reported that “75(10.5%) had an abnormal anal cytology and 29(38.7%) with an abnormality had high grade AIN; women with poorly-controlled HIV were significantly more likely to have high grade AIN (P=0.03).”

The investigators concluded that “all HIV-positive women who have abnormal anal cytology should be referred for high resolution anoscopy, particularly those with poorly controlled HIV disease who are significantly at even higher risk for harboring a high-grade AIN than women who are well controlled.”