Human immunodeficiency virus-associated lung cancer in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy


  • Presented as a poster at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; Chicago, Illinois; June 4-8, 2010.

  • T.K.O., D.M.S., W.J.C., F.R.K., and S.S.R. are Distinguished Cancer Scholars of the Georgia Cancer Coalition.



Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among non-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining malignancies. Because highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has improved the survival of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the authors evaluated lung cancer outcomes in the HAART era.


HIV-positive patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer at the authors' institution during the HAART era (1995-2008) were analyzed. Patient charts were reviewed for clinical and laboratory data. The CD4 count at diagnosis was treated as a continuous variable and subcategorized into distinct variables with 3 cutoff points (50 cells/mL, 200 cells/mL, and 500 cells/mL). Pearson correlation coefficients were estimated for each covariate studied. Survival was determined by using the Kaplan-Meier method.


Of 80 patients, 73 had nonsmall cell lung cancer. Baseline characteristics were as follows: median patient age, 52 years; male, 80%; African Americans, 84%; injection drug users, 25%; smokers, 100%; and previous exposure to antiretroviral agents, 55%. At the time of cancer diagnosis, the mean CD4 count was 304 cells/mL, and the mean viral load was 82,420 copies/mL. The latency between HIV diagnosis and lung cancer diagnosis was significantly shorter among women (4.1 years vs 7.7 years; P = .02), and 71% of patients received anticancer therapy. The 1-year and 3-year survival rates for stage IIIB/IV were 25% and 0%, respectively. Grade 3/4 toxicities occurred in 60% of patients who received chemoradiation versus 36% of patients who received chemotherapy. Cancer-related survival was better for patients with CD4 counts >200 cells/mL (P = .0298) and >500 cells/mL (P = .0076).


The latency from diagnosis of HIV to lung cancer was significantly shorter for women. Although outcomes for patients with lung cancer who have HIV remain poor, a high CD4 count was associated with improved lung cancer-related survival. Cancer 2012;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.