People with AIDS are at increased risk for developing esophageal and stomach carcinoma as well as non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs), according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.
“People diagnosed with AIDS are living longer due to improved therapies. However, they remain at increased risk of developing a number of different cancers,” said E. Christina Persson, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute and lead author of this study. “An elevated risk of esophageal and stomach cancers had been observed before, but we were able to look at risk for subtypes of these malignancies.”
In this study, researchers analyzed data from the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study, which links data collected from 1980 to 2007 for 16 U.S. population-based HIV and AIDS and cancer registries. They compared risks of stomach and esophageal cancers in 596,955 people with AIDS with those of the general population.
Those with AIDS had a 69 percent and 44 percent increased risk of esophageal and stomach carcinomas, respectively. The risks of NHLs — tumors of immune cells — in the stomach and esophagus were also strongly elevated. Additionally, the researchers’ analysis showed a significant 53 percent increased risk of cancer of the lower stomach in people with AIDS. Since Helicobacter pylori infection is one of the causes of this type of stomach cancer, one explanation for an increased risk of this cancer might be an increased prevalence of H. pylori in people with AIDS.
Another explanation for this elevated cancer risk could be more frequent use of tobacco and alcohol among people with AIDS. Programs encouraging tobacco cessation and alcohol moderation may help reduce the occurrence of esophageal and stomach carcinomas among these patients.
About the AGA Institute
The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. http://www.gastro.org.
Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute, is the most prominent scientific journal in the specialty and is in the top 1 percent of indexed medical journals internationally. The journal publishes clinical and basic science studies of all aspects of the digestive system, including the liver and pancreas, as well as nutrition. The journal is abstracted and indexed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences, Chemical Abstracts, Current Contents, Excerpta Medica, Index Medicus, Nutrition Abstracts and Science Citation Index.
Alissa J. Cruz
American Gastroenterological Association