Patrick S. Swift, MD | Authors

Radiation Therapy for Malignancies in the Setting of HIV Disease

May 01, 1997

With the introduction of increasingly effective antiretroviral agents for the management of AIDS, the life expectancy of appropriately treated patients will continue to lengthen, as will the length of time during which infected patients may develop malignancies, both HIV-related and non-HIV-related. The management of such patients will require careful consideration of the impact of all oncologic therapy on the immune system's ability to hold the virus at bay. Radiation therapy, with its recognized immunosuppressive effects, plays an important role in the management of the major AIDS-defining neoplasms, Kaposi's sarcoma, primary central nervous system lymphoma, and cervical carcinoma, and is used in approximately 50% of patients with non-HIV-related malignancies at some point in the disease course. The judicious use of radiation therapy and proper integration of aggressive antiretroviral therapy can result in control of malignancies without contributing to the rapid progression of HIV disease. [ONCOLOGY 11(5):683-694, 1997]