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National surveys were used to assess the distribution and characteristics of malignancy-related deaths among HIV patients in 2010, and compared them to 2000 and 2005. Cancer is the leading cause of mortality in the HIV-infected patients studied. The risk of malignancies, including non-AIDS-related cancers, is higher in HIV patients than in the general population. Smoking is reported to be the primary risk factor in non-AIDS-related cancer, particularly lung cancer. Based on the 728 deaths (median age at death was 50) reported in 2010, the proportion of deaths attributed to malignancies significantly increased from 28% in 2000, 33% in 2005, and 36% in 2010. Non-AIDS-related cancer deaths increased from 11% in 2000, 17% in 2005, and 22% in 2010. Compared to 2000 (16%), there was significant decrease in deaths attributed to AIDS-defining cancers in 2010 (9%). The proportion of respiratory cancer increased from 5% in 2000 to 6% in 2005 and 11% in 2010. Lung cancer was found to be the most common cancer-related cause of death in 2010. The study emphasized the need to optimize cancer prevention, screening and therapeutic management in HIV-infected patients in order to reduce mortality due to malignancy.
Summary by Stephen Karpiak PhD, ACRIA and NYU College of Nursing