Comparative incidence of cancer in HIV-AIDS patients and transplant recipients

Cancer Epidemiol. 2012 Apr;36(2):e69-73. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2011.12.002. Epub 2012 Jan 10.


Background: Studies have found a relationship between decreased immunity and increased incidence of cancer.

Methods: A systematic review of observational studies evaluating the incidence of cancer in both organ recipients and people with HIV/AIDS compared with the general population. Eligible studies were searched up to March 2011 in the following databases: Pubmed, Embase, Scielo, Cancerlit and Google scholar. In this study, the standardized incidence ratios (SIR) of cancer in people with HIV/AIDS and of organ transplant recipients were compared with those found among the general population.

Results: Twenty-five studies of transplant and HIV-associated cancer risk, involving 866776 people with HIV/AIDS or organ recipients and 21260 new cases of cancer, were included. The risk for the development of new cancer cases was higher among people with HIV/AIDS (SIR=4, IC95% 3.78-4.24) and who received organs (SIR=3.28, IC95% 3.06-3.52) when compared with the general population.

Conclusion: Similar SIR in both immunocompromised populations suggests that the weakened immune system is responsible for the increased risk of new cases of cancer among these groups. Research investments are needed to develop effective cancer prevention strategies in these populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Incidence
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects*