Anal cancer is one of the most common non-AIDS-defining malignancies in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy. Its precursor lesion, anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN), is highly prevalent in HIV-infected populations. More than 90% of anal squamous cell cancers are attributable to human papillomavirus (HPV). While the biology of HPV-related intraepithelial neoplasia is consistent across lower anogenital sites, the natural history of AIN is not well established and cannot be assumed to be identical to that of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Screening strategies to prevent anal cancer should be developed based on robust natural history data in HIV-infected and uninfected populations. Likewise, treatments need to be tested in randomized clinical trials, and reserved for those at significant risk of progression to cancer. This review covers the epidemiology, pathogenesis and immunology of HPV infection, AIN and anal cancer, and summarizes the current diagnosis, screening and treatment strategies in HIV-infected adults.
Keywords: HIV; anal canal; anal cancer; human papillomavirus; intraepithelial neoplasia.
© 2013 British HIV Association.