Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

How Does HIV Infection Affect Survival in Patients With Breast Cancer?

By: Lauren Harrison, MS
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Elderly patients who have comorbid human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and breast cancer appear to have worse outcomes than patients who are HIV-negative, even after adjusting for the receipt of specific cancer treatments. Anna E. Coghill, PhD, MPH, of the Moffit Cancer Center and Research Institute, in Tampa, Florida, and colleagues published their findings in JAMA Oncology.

“As the HIV population continues to age, the association of HIV infection with poor breast and prostate cancer outcomes will become more important,” said Dr. Coghill in an institutional press release. “It is why we are stressing the need for more research on clinical strategies to improve outcomes for HIV-infected patients with cancer.”

Researchers utilized the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare linked data to identify 308,268 patients older than age 65 with nonadvanced cancer of the breast, colorectum, lung, or prostate. All of these patients were diagnosed between 1996 and 2012 and had received standard, stage-appropriate cancer treatment.

There were 288 patients in the group who were HIV-positive, and these patients had worse outcomes than their HIV-negative counterparts after researchers adjusted for differences in treatments. For those with breast cancer specifically, HIV infections significantly increased the overall mortality rate (hazard ratio = 1.50). Cancer-specific mortality was also elevated for HIV-positive patients with breast cancer (hazard ratio = 1.85). Additionally, women infected with HIV had significantly higher rates of disease relapse or death compared with those who were unaffected by HIV (hazard ratio = 1.63).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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