PURPOSE OF REVIEW
The era of modern HIV therapeutics is well underway. The cancer and infectious disease epidemiology of HIV disease has markedly altered as populations are availed to the benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ARV). The types of cancers occurring among those with HIV infection has broadened but the case burden in absolute numbers is very low relative to the background population. There are fewer incident cases of the AIDS-defining cancers (aggressive B-cell lymphomas, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and cervical cancer). There is an increased risk for certain non-AIDS-defining cancers, but these occur somewhat sporadically relative to clinical trial enrollment. The changing epidemiology of cancer in HIV poses challenges as well as opportunities for participation of persons with HIV in cancer therapy clinical trials.
There are excellent examples of cancer trials that inform cancer therapy for patients with HIV infection. Examples include those from HIV-specific trials and from trials mainly focused on the background population that included patients with HIV infection.
Interpretation of clinical trials to guide therapy for those with HIV infection and cancer largely depends on data that does not include HIV-infected patients. The ability to extend clinical trial findings to populations not included in clinical trials remains problematic for a variety of populations, including those with HIV or AIDS. Careful prioritization of studies designed to bridge this gap is needed. However, there are published studies that serve as excellent examples bridging these gaps and the portfolio of cancer therapy trials underway will inform HIV and cancer better than at any time in the past.