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David S. Ettinger, MD, FACP, FCCP


Are People Living With HIV at Increased Risk for Lung Cancer?

By: Shelby Maxwell
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2022

A population-based registry linkage study has been conducted to look at trends and risk of developing lung cancer in individuals living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at different ages. Cameron B. Haas, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues reported that although there was a high risk of lung cancer for individuals living with HIV who were older than age 60, there was a decline in the lung cancer rates for many younger individuals. These findings were presented in The Lancet HIV.

“Declines in risk of lung cancer for people living with HIV probably reflect improvements in access to and treatment with combined antiretroviral therapy, especially for the youngest age group (aged 20–39 years),” the investigators noted.

The investigators focused on the trends for individuals living with HIV who are between the ages of 20 and 89. Data from the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match study from 2001 to 2016 for White, Black, and Hispanic people living with HIV diagnoses in the United States were used.

The study’s findings showed there was a 6% decline in lung cancer rates for people living with HIV during the years analyzed for the study, with greater annual declines in incidence rates in younger people with HIV than in older age groups. The standardized incidence ratio, a measure of relative risk for people living with HIV compared with the general population, has declined for people living with HIV over time and is lower for older age groups.

However, Dr. Haas and colleagues found that “for people living with HIV aged 60 years and older, the risk of lung cancer exceeds that of two of the most common AIDS-defining cancers.” They showed a 5-year cumulative incidence of 1.36% for lung cancer among people living with HIV between the ages of 60 and 69 compared with 0.62% for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 0.12% for Kaposi sarcoma starting in 2011.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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