Immunosuppression and Cancer: A Comparison of Risks in Recipients of Organ Transplants and in HIV-Positive Individuals

G. Busnach, P. Piselli, E. Arbustini, U. Baccarani, P. Burra, M. P. Carrieri, F. Citterio, E. De Juli, S. Bellelli, C. Pradier, G. Rezza, D. Serraino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The comparison of cancers occurring excessively among HIV-infected and transplanted individuals may help to elucidate the relationship between immune surveillance, viral infections, and cancer. A longitudinal study was conducted on 2002 HIV-infected Italian subjects, 6072 HIV-infected French individuals, and 2878 Italian recipients of solid organ transplants. Standardized incidence ratios (SIR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed to quantify the risk for cancer, compared with the French and Italian general populations. The SIRs for all cancers were 9.8 (95% CI: 9.0-10.6) for HIV-infected individuals versus 2.2 (95% CI: 1.9-2.5) for transplant recipients. In both groups, most of the excess risk was attributable to virus-related cancers, such as Kaposi's sarcoma (KS; SIR = 451 in HIV-positive individuals, 125 in transplant recipients), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL; SIR = 62.1 and 11.1, respectively), and liver cancer (SIR = 9.4 and 4.1, respectively). Significantly increased SIRs for anal cancer and Hodgkin's lymphoma were found only among HIV-positive individuals. Among women younger than 40 years of age, a more than 10-fold increase in cervical cancer risk was found in both groups. Among HIV-infected individuals treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapies drastically reduced SIRs for KS and NHL only. These results show that HIV-infected individuals and transplant recipients share a similar pattern of cancer risk, largely due to virus-related cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3533-3535
Number of pages3
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

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