NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hispanic individuals infected with HIV have a higher risk of developing human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers than do other HIV-infected individuals, according to the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match (HACM) Study.
"We found that similar to what is seen in the general population, HIV-infected Hispanics have higher rates of cervical and penile cancer than HIV-infected non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks," said Dr. Ana P. Ortiz of the University of Puerto Rico, in San Juan.
"This is interesting, as you could expect that given immunosuppression in HIV-infected individuals, disparities in HPV-related cancer rates across racial/ethnic groups could diminish. But in fact, study findings showed that independent of HIV infection, disparities in cervical- and penile-cancer rates among Hispanics persist in this group," she told Reuters Health by email.
Dr. Ortiz's team used HACM data to compare incidence rates for HPV-related cancers and survival between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks in the HIV-infected U.S. population.
They found 502 HPV-related cancers diagnosed over more than 864,000 person-years of follow-up among HIV-infected Hispanics, the researchers write in Cancer, online October 22.
The incidence of HPV-related cancers, except for oropharyngeal cancer, was higher among those with HIV than in the general Hispanic population, with the greatest relative increases for anal cancer. HIV-infected Hispanic females had significantly higher rates of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers, and HIV-infected Hispanic males had higher rates of penile cancer, compared with their noninfected counterparts.
Among people living with HIV, Hispanic females had a 70% higher rate of cervical cancer than non-Hispanic whites and Hispanic males had a 2.6-fold higher rate of penile cancer than non-Hispanic whites.
Cervical cancer and penile cancer rates did not differ significantly between Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks.
HIV-infected Hispanic females had significantly lower vulvar cancer rates than non-Hispanic whites and blacks, and HIV-infected Hispanic males had lower anal cancer rates than non-Hispanic whites and blacks.
For most cancer sites, five-year survival did not differ significantly among people living with HIV by race/ethnicity. The exception was anal cancer, where survival was significantly better for Hispanic females than for non-Hispanic black females.
"Although disparities in the incidence rates of HPV-related cancers among HIV-infected individuals across racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. may reflect disparities in the general population, the causes of these disparities warrant further research, as other biological and/or social factors, beyond HPV and HIV infection, may contribute to these disparities," Dr. Ortiz said.
"In addition, continued efforts should be made to guarantee appropriate cervical-cancer screening and treatment for HIV-infected women, and to increase HPV vaccination in all age-eligible individuals to reduce the burden of HPV-related cancers," she said. "In fact, HIV-infected persons may benefit from the HPV vaccine, despite likely having already been exposed to HPV infection, because research shows that many have not been exposed to the most common oncogenic HPV types."