Background: Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and lung cancer represent two problems beginning in the 20th century that are of epidemic proportions. By the end of the 20th century, therapeutic programs of modest efficacy had been developed for both. Because both HIV infection and lung cancer are common, it is not surprising that a number of patients would be afflicted with both diseases simultaneously. There is a very limited literature regarding the treatment and outcome of patients with both diseases, particularly since the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for HIV infection.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our tumor registry to ascertain cases with concurrent lung cancer and HIV diagnoses since 1996, at the advent of HAART. Twenty-nine patients were identified at the University of Maryland, and five additional cases from an affiliated institution were identified.
Results: Thirty patients had non-small cell lung cancer, and four patients had small cell lung cancer. Of the 30 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, 27 had stage IIIb/IV disease and were analyzed for outcome on the basis of CD4 counts and HAART therapy. Patients with CD4 counts >200 or those on HAART had numerically, though not statistically, superior survival. Patients were able to receive standard chemotherapy regimens, and the overall survival was 5.2 months.
Conclusions: This single-institution analysis appears to indicate that there is an increasing incidence of patients with lung cancer and HIV infection. Patients with advanced NSCLC who are HIV positive with CD4 counts >200 can be treated with chemotherapy and demonstrate survival comparable to that of patients without HIV infection.