Cancer and AIDS

Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2005 Apr;48(2):151-60.


The occurrence of cancer as an AIDS defined disease is a subject that has received scant attention in the Indian medical establishments and lay public. It is important to know that the concept of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome was ushered in with reports of rare forms of cancers in HIV infected subjects. In the developed countries 34% of AIDS patients suffer from cancer, a cancer that is very aggressive, resistant to treatment and often fatal. On the other hand, incidence of cancer in patients infected with HIV virus is only 3%-4% in the Indian population. Nearly all patients with AIDS in India are victims of tuberculosis and opportunistic infections. Among the various cancers reported in the Indian population Kaposi's sarcoma is very rare indeed. AIDS associated malignant tumours tend to be more anaplastic and disseminate fairly early. The object of this review is to increase awareness of the various aspects of cancer and AIDS. There is an urgent need to improve gathering of epidemiological data and to direct research effort to explain a very strikingly low incidence of cancers in Indian subjects as compared to that in the West (prevalence of 4% versus 34% among HIV infected patients).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, AIDS-Related / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / epidemiology