Lung cancer is the most frequent type of cancer-related death in people living with HIV (PLWH). We conducted a review of primary lung cancers in PLWH at the McGill University Health Centre from 1988-May 2018 to understand potential factors contributing to their development prior to the implementation of a lung cancer screening program. Twenty-seven individuals had a diagnosis of a lung tumor. Of these individuals, 21 (78%) had a primary lung cancer, over 21,428 person-years follow-up. Median age was 54.5 years [25th and 75th percentiles 49.0, 62.0]. Median CD4 count was 185.0 cells/μL [25th and 75th percentiles 54.0, 446.0] and 52% were on antitretroviral therapy with suppressed viral loads. Type of primary lung cancer included: non-small cell lung cancer (n = 15), small-cell lung cancer (n = 4) and bronchial carcinomas (n = 2). Metastatic disease at diagnosis was present in 11 (52%) persons. Survival was a median of 7.5 months from the time of diagnosis [25th and 75th percentiles 2.0, 9.0]. In conclusion, we observed a high proportion of lung cancers detected at very late stages of disease and with metastatic involvement. The implementation of a lung cancer screening program in 2018 should set a stage shift for earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Keywords: HIV; Lung cancer; clinical improvement; co-morbidity; lung cancer screening.