HIV-infected patients with cancer may face a higher cancer-specific mortality compared to those without HIV, according to a recent study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers led by Anna Coghill, PhD, MPH, of the National Cancer Institute in Maryland examined cases of 14 common cancers from 1996 to 2010 in six states across the U.S. that participated in a linkage of cancer and HIV/AIDS registries.

Using Cox regression to study the association between HIV status in these patients with death resulting from presenting cancer, they identified 6,459 HIV-infected patients with cancer.

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The researchers found that cancer-specific mortality was significantly higher in HIV-infected patients for a variety of cancers, including colorectum, pancreatic, laryngeal, lung, melanoma, breast and prostate.

Upon adjusting for cancer treatment, HIV status was still associated with higher cancer-specific mortality for cancer of the colorectum, lung, melanoma, and breast.

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However, HIV status was not associated with an increased cancer-specific mortality in anal cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

“The elevation in cancer-specific mortality among HIV-infected patients may be attributable to unmeasured stage or treatment differences as well as a direct relationship between immunosuppression and tumor progression,” the authors concluded.


  1. Coghill, Anna E., et al. “Elevated Cancer-Specific Mortality Among HIV-Infected Patients in the United States.” Journal of Clinical Oncology. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.59.5967. [epub ahead of print]. June 15, 2015.