Curr HIV Res 2012 Mar;10(2):123-32
Department of Infectious Diseases, Unit of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Foundation IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
Implementation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has deeply changed the landscape of HIV-associated malignancies. Some AIDS-defining tumors, namely Primitive Lymphoma of Central Nervous System, have drastically declined, whereas a steady increase has been observed for non-AIDS-defining tumors, maybe due to longer survival of HIV-infected people. Easier immune restoration, subsequent to availability of a number of drugs targeting HIV at different points, has decreased opportunistic infections which hampered treatment of HIV-associated cancers. As a matter of fact these patients have been assimilated more and more with their negative counterpart, undergoing the same aggressive approach. Consistently, procedures that have been so far precluded to HIV+ subjects, such as transplant of hemopoietic stem cells, either autologous or allogenic, and liver transplant are expected to be performed more and more extensively in this population. Which also would mean a full removal of the stigma which has weighed on it. Hence, it is true-like that malignancies and related problems may in the next future make up a main concern for the HIV specialist. Old and new challenges might be the drug-drug interaction of antiretrovirals or biotherapy-related infections or the debated question of an earlier HAART implementation in the course of HIV disease, with CD4+ cells > 500/μl. In fact, if assimilation of HIV patients with cancer and the general population is a remarkable achieved goal, uniqueness of HIV infection in terms of immune status still makes HIV-associated cancer a unique chapter in the setting of Oncology.