Incidence and survival of HNSCC patients living with HIV compared with HIV-negative HNSCC patients

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2021 Jan 25. doi: 10.1007/s00405-020-06573-9. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: The aim was to analyze the incidence and survival of patients living with HIV (PLWH) with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and to compare with a control group of HIV-negative HNSCC patients.

Methods: Clinicopathological data and predictors for overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were investigated (2009-2019).

Results: 50 of 5151 HNSCC patients (0.97%) were PLWH, and 76% were smokers. Age ≤ 60 years, HIV-PCR ≤ 50 copies, CD4 cells ≤ 200/mm3, cART treatment, T and UICC classification, oral cavity and nasal/paranasal sinuses, and therapy were significantly associated with OS in univariate analysis. In the multivariate analysis, only age and HIV-PCR independently predicted OS. The OS of the 50 PLWH was not significantly altered compared with the 5101 HIV-negative controls. However, OS and DFS were significantly inferior in advanced tumor stages of PLWH compared with an age-matched control group of 150 HIV-negative patients.

Conclusions: PLWH were diagnosed with HNSCC at a significantly younger age compared to HIV-negative patients. Taking into account patient age at initial diagnosis, both OS and DFS rates in PLWH are significantly worse compared with a matched control group of HIV-negative patients in advanced tumor stages UICC III/IV. The prognosis (OS) is improved when taking cART treatment, the HIV viral load is undetectable and CD4 count is high.

Keywords: HIV; HNSCC; Smoking; Survival; p16.