Study Evaluates Impact of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) on Cancer Risk in HIV-infected Men

Researchers reported that men infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are still at an increased risk of lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), and anal cancer despite the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). These findings were recently published in the journal Cancer.[1]

Survival among individuals diagnosed with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has improved significantly with the advent of HAART in the mid-1990s. Since the introduction of HAART, the frequency of AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma as well as AIDS-related non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) has declined among individuals infected with HIV. Researchers recently conducted a study to evaluate the impact that HAART has had on risk of developing KS, NHL, Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL), as well as anal cancer in men with HIV.

In this study researchers evaluated data on incidence of KS, NHL, HL, and anal cancer in HIV-infected men compared with U.S. population-based data. Data from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) from 1984-2007 were analyzed and compared with data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program and adjusted for factors such as age, race, and HIV status over time. The 1984-2007 time period allowed the researchers to evaluate cancer incidence before the introduction of HAART as well as after.

  • Overall, HIV-infected men were more likely than men in the general population to develop KS, NHL, HL, and/or anal cancer.
  • Comparing cancer incidence of pre-HAART and HAART era, incidence of KS and NHL declined, anal cancer incidence increased, and HL incidence remained the same.

The researchers concluded that cancer risk remains elevated among HIV-infected men and appropriate cancer screening is warranted in this population.


[1] Seaberg EC, Wiley D, Martínez-Maza O, et al. Cancer incidence in the multicenter aids cohort study before and during the HAART era: 1984-2007. Cancer [early online publication]. July 29, 2010.