HIV infection raises lung cancer risk

Independent of cigarette smoking, infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is associated with an elevated risk for developing lung cancer, a study shows.

Dr. Gregory D. Kirk from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland and colleagues evaluated lung cancer deaths among participants in injection drug users followed since 1998 as part of an AIDS study.

There were 27 lung cancer deaths among the 2,086 participants; 14 of the deaths occurred in HIV-infected subjects.

After adjusting for potentially confounding factors like age, sex and smoking status, HIV infection was associated with a 3.6-fold increased risk for lung cancer death compared to HIV-negative status.

“As HIV-infected persons survive longer, we are continuing to see that non-AIDS outcomes are becoming the primary causes of morbidity and mortality,” Kirk told Reuters Health. “Our study suggests that the risks for these non-AIDS outcomes may be modulated by HIV infection.”

“We hope to combine our data with other HIV and at-risk cohort studies to confirm the association between HIV and lung cancer,” Kirk said.

“Also, we are evaluating a series of smoking/tobacco related biomarkers in HIV infected and uninfected persons with similar smoking patterns to compare if the biological effect of smoking differs by HIV status, and if so, is this related to degree of immune suppression or to antiretroviral treatment,” he added.

SOURCE: Clinical Infectious Diseases, July 1, 2007.

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