As the population of people living with HIV in the United States ages, the burden of cancer for these patients is expected to shift away from cancers linked to AIDS and toward malignancies that affect the general population, according to a new study led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher.
In findings presented at the 2017 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting on April 5, UNC-Chapel Hill researcher Jessica Y. Islam, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports the total number of HIV-positive cancer patients in the United States is projected to decrease through 2030, with a significant decrease in cancers linked to the advanced stage of HIV infection – AIDS – while frequencies of other cancers, such as those of the lung and prostate, will increase.
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“Declines in cancer incidence rates, particularly for AIDS-defining cancers, are likely driven by widespread treatment with modern antiretroviral therapies, which reduce immune suppression and decrease risk of some cancers,” said Islam, a doctoral student in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Effective treatment also increases the life expectancy of people living with HIV.”
When estimating cancer burden — the total number of patients living with cancer — investigators projected an overall decrease from 7,900 cases in 2010, to 6,500 cases in 2030. The researchers expect to see a shift in burden of cancer types, with a strong decline in the numbers of cases of cancers that define AIDS — predominantly Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Meanwhile, they expect to see an increase, by 600, in non-AIDS defining cancers, predominately prostate, lung, liver, and anal cancer.