Age at Cancer Diagnosis Similar in AIDS, General Populations

Only lung and anal cancers diagnosed at an earlier age in patients with AIDS
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- After adjustment for the lower proportion of older-age patients among the AIDS population, most cancers in this population are diagnosed at an age similar to that in the general population, according to research published in the Oct. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Meredith S. Shiels, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues conducted a registry linkage study of 212,055 persons with AIDS from 1996 to 2007. The purpose of the study was to determine age-at-diagnosis distributions for various types of cancer in both the AIDS and general populations, after adjustment for age and other demographic characteristics.

The researchers found that the ages at diagnosis for most types of cancer were approximately 20 years younger among individuals with AIDS; this was due to the proportion of person-time contributed by those age 65 and older being significantly smaller in the AIDS population than in the general population. After adjustment for this difference, there were no significant differences in the median age at diagnosis for most types of cancer between the AIDS and general populations. However, there were significant differences in age of onset of both lung (50 versus 54 years) and anal cancers (42 versus 45 years). The median age at diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma was significantly older (42 versus 40 years) in the AIDS population; the authors postulated this might indicate acceleration of carcinogenesis by HIV or earlier exposure to cancer risk factors.

"For most types of cancer, the age at diagnosis is similar in the AIDS and general populations, after adjustment for the ages of the populations at risk. Modest age differences remained for a few types of cancer, which may indicate either acceleration of carcinogenesis by HIV or earlier exposure to cancer risk factors," the authors write.

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