Current understanding and potential immunotherapy for HIV-associated squamous cell carcinoma of the anus (SCCA)

World J Surg. 2009 Apr;33(4):653-60. doi: 10.1007/s00268-008-9835-y.


Squamous cell carcinoma of the anus (SCCA) is a rare disease in the average population but is an increasing concern among immunocompromised individuals, such as the HIV-seropositive. Coinfection with human papillomavirus (HPV) in this population is common. HPV infection is difficult to clear with a compromised immune system, which results in a greater risk of tumor development and a more aggressive progression of the disease. The recent approval of a prophylactic HPV vaccine for cervical cancer has sparked an interest in a search for improved immunotherapeutic multimodality therapies to combat anogenital tumors associated with the virus. In this review, we discuss the known mechanisms of action of HIV-associated SCCA, examine the current treatments for the disease, and focus on the potential of an immunotherapeutic vaccine approach for both prophylactic and therapeutic application.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Anus Neoplasms / genetics
  • Anus Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Anus Neoplasms / virology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications*
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology
  • HIV Seropositivity / metabolism
  • HIV Seropositivity / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral / metabolism
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • E6 protein, Human papillomavirus type 16
  • E6 protein, Human papillomavirus type 18
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Repressor Proteins