Excess cancers among HIV-infected people in the United States

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Feb 6;107(4):dju503. doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju503. Print 2015 Apr.


Background: Nearly 900 000 people in the United States are living with diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and therefore increased cancer risk. The total number of cancers occurring among HIV-infected people and the excess number above expected background cases are unknown.

Methods: We derived cancer incidence rates for the United States HIV-infected and general populations from Poisson models applied to linked HIV and cancer registry data and from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program data, respectively. We applied these rates to estimates of people living with diagnosed HIV at mid-year 2010 to estimate total and expected cancer counts, respectively. We subtracted expected from total cancers to estimate excess cancers.

Results: An estimated 7760 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7330 to 8320) cancers occurred in 2010 among HIV-infected people, of which 3920 cancers (95% CI = 3480 to 4470) or 50% (95% CI = 48 to 54%) were in excess of expected. The most common excess cancers were non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL; n = 1440 excess cancers, occurring in 88% excess), Kaposi's sarcoma (KS, n = 910, 100% excess), anal cancer (n = 740, 97% excess), and lung cancer (n = 440, 52% excess). The proportion of excess cancers that were AIDS defining (ie, KS, NHL, cervical cancer) declined with age and time since AIDS diagnosis (both P < .001). For anal cancer, 83% of excess cases occurred among men who have sex with men, and 71% among those living five or more years since AIDS onset. Among injection drug users, 22% of excess cancers were lung cancer, and 16% were liver cancer.

Conclusions: The excess cancer burden in the US HIV population is substantial, and patterns across groups highlight opportunities for cancer control initiatives targeted to HIV-infected people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Anus Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications*
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Prevalence
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / epidemiology
  • Sexual Behavior
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology