# 214 Prognosis in HIV Associated Malignancies


Author(s): Steven Oppenheim MD

Background   Fast Fact #213 introduced prognostic principles in HIV/AIDS, as well as gave survival data for many life-threatening complications of HIV infection. This Fast Fact presents survival data for malignancies commonly arising in the setting of HIV/AIDS. Before applying these data to individual patients, consideration should be given to the prognostic principles in HIV/AIDS discussed in Fast Fact #213.

Prognostic Data

  • AIDS related Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), has become less common since the use of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). It is a grossly violaeous spindle cell tumor, more common amongst men who have sex with men, and is associated with co-infection with human herpes virus-8. KS can involve the skin, mucous membranes, and viscera. Some patients with mild to moderate KS may have complete resolution of their disease with cART and/or chemotherapy. More extensive disease of the skin or viscera portends a poorer prognosis with a 2 year survival of 58%. A prognostic index has been developed for patients with KS on cART. In this index age > 50 years, developing KS as a later-stage complication of HIV infection (as opposed to KS being a patient’s first AIDS-defining illness), CD4 cell count <100 cells/mm3, and having other concurrent HIV-related complications all were poor prognostic markers (see reference 13). Patients with all 4 poor markers had a 1 year survival of ~40%.
  • Primary CNS lymphoma is strongly associated with Epstein Barr virus infection. Treatments include cART, whole brain radiation and chemotherapy. Median survival was 3 months before the use of cART, but has improved to 16 months for those responding to cART (with ≥ 50 CD4 cell count increase over their baseline count or ≥ 0.5log10* HIV viral load decrease after lymphoma diagnosis).
  • Systemic non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Diffuse Large Cell Lymphoma - DLCL) is the most common lymphoma associated with HIV infection. A decreased incidence has not been observed with cART, although survival in HIV patients is now approaching that of DLCL patients without HIV. 5 year survival with current chemotherapy regimens is approximately 50%. A well-validated tool for stratifying DLCL survival is the International Prognostic Index (IPI) which includes age, tumor stage, serum LDH, performance status, and the number of extranodal disease sites. Patients with intermediate-risk IPI scores have a 50-64% 3 year survival. However patients with high-risk IPI scores have only a 13% 3 year survival, even in the cART era (see references 3, 9).
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the cervix is seen frequently in patients with HIV and is caused by the human papilloma virus. Survival data are limited for HIV infected patients, but it appears to be similar to patients without HIV infection and is unaffected by the use of or response to cART. Five year survival of SCC of the cervix is 86% for locally invasive disease, 43% with regional disease, and 11% with metastatic disease.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the anus, while not officially an AIDS-defining malignancy, is 120 times more common in HIV infected than non-infected patients and is also associated with human papilloma virus infection. Survival does not seem to be affected by HIV status, with overall 2 year survival in the ~75% range.

* 0.5 log10 decrease equals, for instance, a decrease of 4.0 to 3.5 log10, or 10,000 to 3,160 copies HIV-RNA/ml.


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Author Affiliation: San Diego Hospice at the Institute for Palliative Care, San Diego, California.

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Version History: Originally published April 2009.

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Keywords: Prognosis