Use of statins and risk of AIDS-defining and non-AIDS-defining malignancies among HIV-1 infected patients on antiretroviral therapy

AIDS. 2014 Oct 23;28(16):2407-15. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000443.


Objective: Previous studies have shown that statins use is associated with a lower mortality risk or occurrence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or non-AIDS-defining malignancies (NADMs) in HIV-positive patients. We evaluated the effect of statin therapy on the occurrence of all AIDS-defining malignancy (ADM) and NADM among HIV-positive patients.

Design: A chart study on HIV-1 infected patients attending the Infectious Diseases Department of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Italy.

Methods: Incident malignancies diagnosed since antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiation until October 2012 among treated patients not taking statins at ART initiation. Statin therapy had to precede cancer diagnosis, if it occurred. Malignancies that occurred before ART or statin initiation were excluded. Follow-up was calculated since ART initiation until the first cancer diagnosis or loss to follow-up or death or last available visit, whichever occurred first. Results are described as median (interquartile range, IQR).

Results: Five thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven HIV-1 treated patients were included. During 52 663 person-years, 740 (14%) patients had a history of statin use; 375 malignancies occurred: 12 (1.6%) malignancies (0 ADM; 12 NADM, crude incidence rate, 1.3/1000 person-years) among statin users and 363 (7.9%) malignancies (194 ADM; 169 NADM, crude incidence rate, 8.4/1000 person-years) among non-statin users. By multivariate Fine-Gray regression, statin use was associated with a lower risk of cancer [adjusted hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for ever use: 0.45 (0.17-0.71)].

Conclusion: Among HIV-1 treated patients, statin use was associated with a lower risk of cancer; the benefit was mainly related to AIDS-defining malignancies. Confirmatory studies are needed to consider the residual confounding likely present in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Risk Assessment


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Anticholesteremic Agents