Cancer incidence in people with AIDS in Italy

Jerry Polesel, Silvia Franceschi, Barbara Suligoi, Emanuele Crocetti, Fabio Falcini, Stefano Guzzinati, Marina Vercelli, Roberto Zanetti, Giovanna Tagliabue, Antonio Russo, Stefano Luminari, Fabrizio Stracci, Vincenzo De Lisi, Stefano Ferretti, Lucia Mangone, Mario Budroni, Rosa Maria Limina, Silvano Piffer, Diego Serraino, Francesco BellùAdriano Giacomin, Andrea Donato, Anselmo Madeddu, Susanna Vitarelli, Mario Fusco, Roberto Tessandori, Rosario Tumino, Pierluca Piselli, Luigino Dal Maso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People with HIV/AIDS (PWHA) have increased risk of some cancers. The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART) has improved their life expectancy, exposing them to the combined consequences of aging and of a prolonged exposure to cancer risk factors. The aim of this study was to estimate incidence rates (IR) in PWHA in Italy, before and after the introduction of HAART, after adjusting for sex and age through direct standardization. An anonymous record linkage between Italian AIDS Registry (21,951 cases) and Cancer Registries (17.3 million, 30% of Italian population) was performed. In PWHA, crude IR, sex- and age-standardized IR and age-specific IR were estimated. The standardized IR for Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma greatly declined in the HAART period. Although the crude IR for all non-AIDS-defining cancers increased in the HAART period, standardized IR did not significantly differ in the 2 periods (352 and 379/100,000, respectively). Increases were seen only for cancer of the liver (IR ratio = 4.6, 95% CI: 1.3-17.0) and lung (IR ratio = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.0-3.2). Age-specific IRs for liver and lung cancers, however, largely overlapped in the 2 periods pointing to the strong influence of the shift in the age distribution of PWHA on the observed upward trends. In conclusion, standardized IRs for non-AIDS-defining cancers have not risen in the HAART period, even if crude IRs of these cancers increased. This scenario calls, however, for the intensification of cancer-prevention strategies, notably smoking cessation and screening programs, in middle-aged HIV-patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1445
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2010


  • AIDS
  • Cancer incidence
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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