Neoplastic conditions in the context of HIV-1 infection

Curr HIV Res. 2004 Oct;2(4):343-9. doi: 10.2174/1570162043351002.


HIV-1 infection predisposes to the development of specific types of cancer. Most cancers seen in the AIDS setting are related to oncogenic virus infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and human papillomavirus (HPV). It is generally assumed that HIV-1 infection play a passive role in cancer development by impairing the host immune surveillance and increasing the risk of oncogenic virus infection. Recent insights, however, indicate that HIV-1 infection more actively promotes cancer growth. Experimental evidence has shown that HIV-1-encoded proteins can directly induce tumor angiogenesis and enhance KSHV transmission to target cells. Clinical evidence suggests that the oncogenicity of HPV is altered by the presence of HIV-1 infection irrespective of host immune status. The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has dramatically decreased the incidence of KS whereas the impact of HAART is variable in EBV-related lymphoma and HPV-related cervical cancer, suggesting that additional factors are involved in the pathogenesis of these cancers. Understanding the direct and indirect roles of HIV-1 in the pathogenesis of neoplastic conditions could provide the rationale for prevention and development of new treatments for AIDS-associated malignancies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / etiology
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV-1 / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / etiology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / etiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology