Patients affected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection present an elevated risk of developing cancer. In the last 10 years, the relationship between]human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and female cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (GIN) has been established. Several studies have described an increased prevalence of both cervical HPV infection and CIN among HIV-positive women compared to HIV-negative ones. A high recurrence rate of CIN after standard treatment has been noted in HIV-infected women and the severity of these lesions seems to be inversely correlated to immune function. Taking into account these data, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) since 1993 have included invasive cervical carcinoma among the AIDS-defining conditions. Once cervical cancer develops in HIV-positive women, the disease may be aggressive and less responsive to treatment. A primary means by which HIV infection may influence the pathogenesis of HPV-associated cervical pathology is by molecular interaction between HIV and HPV genes. Although these have not been well defined, an upregulation of HPV E6 and E7 genes expression by HIV proteins (such as tat) has been postulated by some authors. Cervical cytology appears to be adequate as a screening tool for the cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia in HIV-positive women, but the high recurrence rate and multifocality of this disease reinforces the need for careful evaluation and follow-up of the entire anogenital tract in these women. Probably in the next-few years, cervical tumours will represent one of the most frequent complications of HIV infection, a part of progression through AIDS. This points to a need for greater interdisciplinary co-operation for a best disease definition and for the development of effective prevention measures.
- Intra-epithelial cervical cancer
- Invasive cervical cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research