Background: People with AIDS have heightened cancer risk from immunosuppression. HAART has been available since 1996 and has reduced AIDS-related mortality, but there are few large-scale studies on cancer trends.
Methods: AIDS and cancer registries in 11 US regions (1980-2002) were used to identify cancers in 375 933 people with AIDS. Cancer risk relative to the general population was measured using the standardized incidence ratio (SIR), focusing on the 2 years after AIDS onset for those with AIDS in 1990-1995 and 1996-2002 (HAART era). Time trends were assessed with Poisson regression.
Results: Between 1990-1995 and 1996-2002, risk declined for the two major AIDS-defining cancers: Kaposi sarcoma [(KS) n = 5131; SIR, 22 100 and 3640, respectively; P < 0.0001] and non-Hodgkin lymphoma [(NHL) n = 3412; SIR, 53.2 and 22.6, respectively; P < 0.0001]. Declines began in the 1980s, but risk fell sharply in 1996 and was stable thereafter. Risk of cervical cancer did not change (n = 64; SIR, 4.2 and 5.3, respectively; P = 0.33). Among non-AIDS malignancies, lung cancer was most common, but risk declined between 1990-1995 and 1996-2002 (n = 344; SIR, 3.3 and 2.6, respectively; P = 0.02). Risk of Hodgkin lymphoma increased substantially over the 1990-2002 period (n = 149; SIR, 8.1 and 13.6, respectively; P = 0.003).
Conclusions: Dramatic declines in KS and NHL were temporally related to improving therapies, especially introduction of HAART, but those with AIDS remain at marked risk. Among non-AIDS-related cancers, a recent increase in Hodgkin lymphoma was observed.