AIDS associated with an increased risk of some stomach, esophageal cancers

April 4, 2011

Among people with AIDS, the risk of stomach and esophageal malignancies is higher than among the general population, according to study results presented at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held here April 2-6.

"People diagnosed with AIDS are living longer due to improved therapies. However, they are at increased risk of developing a number of different cancers, including Kaposi's sarcoma and several lymphomas. The risk of stomach and esophageal cancers in AIDS patients has not previously been fully evaluated," said E. Christina Persson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute.

Persson and colleagues utilized data from the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study, a linkage of 15 U.S. population-based HIV/AIDS and cancer registries with data from 1980 through 2007. The study included 600,000 men and women diagnosed with AIDS, of whom 1,166 developed stomach malignancies and 240 developed esophageal malignancies.

Overall, people with AIDS had a 6.9-fold increased incidence of stomach malignancies compared to the general population. The risk was increased 70 percent for stomach carcinomas, with similar increases for proximal (cardia) and distal (non-cardia) carcinomas. The risk for stomach lymphomas was 36-fold higher.

The overall risk of esophageal malignancies was 2.7 times higher among people with AIDS than in the general population. Risk was increased 54 percent for squamous cell carcinomas, 101 percent for adenocarcinomas, and 261-fold for lymphomas of the esophagus.

Persson said that the increased risk among patients with AIDS was expected, but the increased risk for carcinomas is a new finding. Additionally, the size of this study allowed the researchers to look at subtypes.

"This study is unique because of its large size, which allowed us to look more closely at the different histologic and anatomic subsites of the tumors," said Persson. "It will be important for us to evaluate trends in risk over time, particularly in the modern treatment era."

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