AIDS-associated cancer in developing nations

Curr Opin Oncol. 2004 Sep;16(5):468-76. doi: 10.1097/00001622-200409000-00010.


Purpose of review: With the emergence of the highly active antiretroviral therapy era, it is apparent that the incidence of Kaposi sarcoma, in particular, and lymphoma in patients with AIDS is declining, especially in regions of the world where these regimens are routinely available. The burden of HIV infection and AIDS is greatest in the developing world, and no doubt neoplastic complications are increasingly encountered. The purpose of this review is to highlight recent developments of this aspect of the AIDS epidemic in the developing world.

Recent findings: It was readily apparent that the incidence of Kaposi sarcoma sharply increased after the onset of the AIDS epidemic in developing countries. By the end of the second decade of the epidemic, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is increasing in incidence and the natural history of Burkitt lymphoma is evolving in the backdrop of HIV infection as well. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women in many developing countries, yet the true impact of HIV infection on the development of this neoplasm is not fully understood. Squamous cell carcinoma of the conjunctiva appears to be a unique AIDS-associated neoplasm that is encountered in sub-Saharan Africa as well. Finally, although the epidemiologic and clinicopathologic features for many AIDS-associated neoplasms are well characterized in developing regions of the world, there is a paucity of data on the therapeutic approach to these tumors in this setting.

Summary: It is apparent that as the AIDS pandemic proceeds, the burden of neoplastic diseases is increasing in developing nations. Current therapeutic approaches are not well documented. Pragmatic prevention and therapeutic interventions suitable for the resource-constrained setting are clearly needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Adult
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Prevalence