AIDS and Cancer Links

Esophageal and stomach cancer risks higher in people with AIDS

(RxWiki News) People living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) are at greater risk of various forms of cancer. In fact, when these cancers appear, it means the virus has turned into full-blown AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

According to a recently published study, people with AIDS are at higher risk for esophageal and stomach cancer.

These risks are in addition to the known so-called AIDS-defining cancers - Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cervical cancer

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This National Cancer Institute study looked at data from HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study. This is a network of information collected between 1980 and 2007 on some 597,000 people with AIDS.

Researchers compared the risks of esophageal and stomach cancer among those in the study with those of the general population.

They found that people with AIDS are more likely than people in the general population to develop cancers of the esophagus and stomach. The greatest risks were for specific types of these cancers – esophageal adenocarcinoma and stomach squamous cell carcinoma.

These subtypes describe where these cancers appear.

Researchers learned that people living with AIDS also have greater risk of cancers appearing both at the top of the stomach (gastric cardia) and in all areas of the stomach (gastric noncardia).

During the years studied, these cancers appeared in people with AIDS at a consistent rate. However, the rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) decreased.

The authors concluded, “Although the incidence of NHL decreased from 1980 to 2007 as treatments for HIV infection improved, HIV-infected individuals face continued risks of esophageal and stomach carcinomas.”

This study was published July 16 in the journal Gastroenterology.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Review Date: 
September 13, 2012