Data from a large study demonstrated that people with AIDS are 6.9-fold more likely than the general population to develop stomach malignancies and 2.7 times more likely to have esophageal malignancies.

“This study is unique because of its large size, which allowed us to look more closely at the different histologic and anatomic subsites of the tumors,” affirmed research team member E. Christina Persson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The investigators analyzed data from the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study, which links 15 US population-based HIV/AIDS and cancer registries with information from 1980 through 2007. Among the 600,000 men and women with AIDS studied, 1,166 developed stomach malignancies and 240 developed esophageal malignancies.

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The data indicated that compared with the general population, people with AIDS had a 70% higher risk for stomach carcinomas, and similarly increased risks for proximal (cardia) and distal (noncardia) carcinomas. The risk for stomach lymphomas was 36-fold higher in the AIDS population than in the general population.

In terms of esophageal malignancies, risk for squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) was 54% higher, risk for adenocarcinomas was 101% higher, and risk for lymphomas of the esophagus were 261-fold higher for the AIDS group compared with the general population.

Although the researchers expected to see a heightened lymphoma risk in the AIDS population compared with the general population, Persson said that the increased risk for carcinoma they uncovered is a new finding.

This information was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held April 2-6, 2011, in Orlando, Florida.