Safety and Activity of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in People Living With HIV and Cancer: A Real-World Report From the Cancer Therapy Using Checkpoint Inhibitors in People Living With HIV-International (CATCH-IT) Consortium

J Clin Oncol. 2023 Jul 20;41(21):3712-3723. doi: 10.1200/JCO.22.02459. Epub 2023 May 16.


Purpose: Compared with people living without HIV (PWOH), people living with HIV (PWH) and cancer have traditionally been excluded from immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) trials. Furthermore, there is a paucity of real-world data on the use of ICIs in PWH and cancer.

Methods: This retrospective study included PWH treated with anti-PD-1- or anti-PD-L1-based therapies for advanced cancers. Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Objective response rates (ORRs) were measured per RECIST 1.1 or other tumor-specific criteria, whenever feasible. Restricted mean survival time (RMST) was used to compare OS and PFS between matched PWH and PWOH with metastatic NSCLC (mNSCLC).

Results: Among 390 PWH, median age was 58 years, 85% (n = 331) were males, 36% (n = 138) were Black; 70% (n = 274) received anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 monotherapy. Most common cancers were NSCLC (28%, n = 111), hepatocellular carcinoma ([HCC]; 11%, n = 44), and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC; 10%, n = 39). Seventy percent (152/216) had CD4+ T cell counts ≥200 cells/µL, and 94% (179/190) had HIV viral load <400 copies/mL. Twenty percent (79/390) had any grade immune-related adverse events (irAEs) and 7.7% (30/390) had grade ≥3 irAEs. ORRs were 69% (nonmelanoma skin cancer), 31% (NSCLC), 16% (HCC), and 11% (HNSCC). In the matched mNSCLC cohort (61 PWH v 110 PWOH), 20% (12/61) PWH and 22% (24/110) PWOH had irAEs. Adjusted 42-month RMST difference was -0.06 months (95% CI, -5.49 to 5.37; P = .98) for PFS and 2.23 months (95% CI, -4.02 to 8.48; P = .48) for OS.

Conclusion: Among PWH, ICIs demonstrated differential activity across cancer types with no excess toxicity. Safety and activity of ICIs were similar between matched cohorts of PWH and PWOH with mNSCLC.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Liver Neoplasms*
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors