April 7, 2011

AIDS Linked to Stomach Cancers

By Rhonda Craig, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

AIDS patients could have a much higher risk of developing some stomach and esophageal cancers. The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's 102nd Annual Meeting in Orlando this week.

AIDS patients are now living longer, healthier lives thanks to improved treatments, but an ongoing study has just revealed they may be at increased risk of developing some specific cancers.

"We knew that people with AIDS had a high prevalence of cancer risk factors and increased risk of infection-related malignancies," E. Christina Persson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute, told Ivanhoe. "However, the risk of stomach and esophageal cancers in AIDS patients has not previously been fully evaluated."

Persson and her colleagues analyzed data from U.S-based HIV/AIDS and cancer registries. "We used 600,000 men and women with AIDS, which covered an entire AIDS era from between 1980 and 2007," Persson explained.

Of those AIDS patients, 1,666 developed stomach malignancies, and 240 developed esophageal malignancies. Researchers found that people diagnosed with AIDS had a nearly seven-fold increased incidence of stomach malignancies compared to the general population. These patients also had a 2.7-times higher risk of esophageal malignancies. The risk was increased 70-percent for stomach carcinomas and 261-fold for lymphomas of the esophagus.

Persson said while the increased lymphoma risk was expected, the increased risk for other carcinomas was a surprise finding. Researchers hope to continue to evaluate trends in risk over time, specifically in the modern HIV treatment era.

SOURCE: AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held in Orlando, FL, April 2-6, 2011