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Analyzing HIV/AIDS-Associated Cancers

Arkansas Central Cancer Registry

A compromised immune system and co-infection with viruses such as human herpes virus 8 (HHV8), Epstein Barr virus (EBV), human papillomavirus (HPV), and hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses (HBV and HCV) increase the risk of developing cancer among those living with HIV/AIDS.1

According to the National Cancer Institute, Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and cervical cancer are the most commonly diagnosed cancers among those living with HIV/AIDS and are AIDS-defining cancers. A diagnosis of any of these cancers determines the development from HIV into AIDS.1

Since 1996, highly active antiretroviral treatment reduced the risk of Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and increased life expectancy of people living with HIV/AIDS. However, other non-AIDS defining cancers, such as lung, anal, liver, and Hodgkin lymphoma, have increased among persons living with HIV/AIDS.2

To understand the burden of cancer among HIV/AIDS cases in Arkansas, 251 linked cases from the Enhanced HIV/AIDS Reporting System (eHARS) and the Arkansas Central Cancer Registry (ACCR) were analyzed between the years 1997–2008. Among all HIV/AIDS cases matched with a diagnosis of cancer—

  • 82.1% (206) were male and 17.9% (45) were female.
  • 59.8% (150) were non-Hispanic white, 36.7% (92) were non-Hispanic black, 2% (6) were Hispanic, and 1.2% (3) were of another race or ethnicity.
  • Of the primary site cancers found, the most frequently occurring were non-Hodgkin lymphoma (23.1%), lung (12.0%), Kaposi sarcoma (7.2%), oral cavity (5.6%), and Hodgkin lymphoma (5.6%).

Further study into the survival of those with co-morbidities of HIV/AIDS and cancer will be done using the Kaplan Meier statistical test. The results of this linkage support the literature surrounding the risk of specific cancers among those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Arkansas.1

Linking cases between the eHARS and the ACCR allows for the study of comorbidities, survival, and disparate issues among this special population. Understanding the burden of cancer among those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is critical for targeting cancer screening, therapies, and follow-up care.


1National Cancer Institute. HIV Infection and Cancer Risk. National Institutes of Health Web site.

2Engels EA, Biggar RJ, Hall HI, Cross H, Crutchfield A, Finch JL, Grigg R, Hylton T, Pawlish KS, McNeel TS, Goedert JJ. Cancer risk in people infected with human immunodeficiency virus in the United States. International Journal of Cancer 2008;123(1):187–194.

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