CHICAGOFor many years, researchers have known that individuals who are seropositive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at much greater risk of developing two forms of cancerKaposi’s sarcoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
A large-scale study of veterans for the first time shows that HIV-positive men also have a higher incidence of other unusual types of malignancies, compared with HIV-negative veterans or the male population as a whole, Adam J. Gordon, MD, reported at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC abstract 249).
The unusual malignancies with high rates in HIV-positive men involved the oral cavity and pharynx, digestive and respiratory systems, skin, and genitalia as well as cancers that are ill-defined, said Dr. Gordon, assistant professor of medicine, VA Pittsburgh Health System Center for Health Services Research.
The study authors did not compile enough evidence to determine why the rates of these cancers were higher in HIV-positive veterans. Dr. Gordon said it might be because men in the study have engaged in risky behaviors, such as excessive alcohol(Drug information on alcohol) consumption or smoking. The magnitude of the increased risk also suggests that HIV infection or treatment may play a role.
Early Cancer Screening
"This type of information gives physicians an idea of what to look for in terms of other diseases that may be affecting the HIV population so they may institute some kinds of cancer screening early," he said.
The study included 868 HIV-positive men between the ages of 27 and 79 who were treated at HIV clinics in the Cleveland, Manhattan, and Houston VA hospitals between July 1999 and June 2000 as part of the Veterans HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (VACS 3).