Last Updated on Jan 28, 2016

Non-AIDS defining malignancies

With the advent of HAART treatment, HIV patients tend to have a longer life span. Thus, they often run a risk of acquiring other cancers that take a long time to develop. These include Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, anal, liver, lung, testicular, and skin cancer. These cancers are termed as "Non-AIDS defining malignancies." The incidence of these cancers has increased over the past few years and they are now an important cause of death in AIDS patients. Some factors that increase a patient’s risk for developing these cancers are:

  • Duration of reduced immunity
  • Family history of cancers
  • Age - People over 40 years are at an increased risk
  • Smoking - Smoking increases the risk for lung cancer
  • Alcohol - Alcohol increases the risk for liver cancer
  • Sexual practices - Multiple sexual partners increases the risk for anal cancer
  • Sun exposure - Increase in sun exposure increases the risk for skin cancer


  1. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 17th edition.
  2. Non–AIDS-Defining Malignancies in HIV. Top HIV Med. 2008;16(4):117-121.
  3. Cheung MC, Pantanowitz L, Dezube BJ. AIDS-Related Malignancies: Emerging Challenges in the Era of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy. The Oncologist 2005;10:412–426.
  4. Sullivan RJ, Pantanowitz L, Casper C, Stebbing J, and Dezube BJ. Epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus disease: Kaposi sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma, and multicentric Castleman disease. Clin Infect Dis. 2008 November 1; 47(9): 1209–1215.
  5. Pantanowitz L, and Dezube BJ. Evolving Spectrum and Incidence of Non-AIDS-Defining Malignancies. Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2009 January ; 4(1): 27–34.
  6. Engels EA. Non-AIDS-defining malignancies in HIV-infected persons: etiologic puzzles, epidemiologic perils, prevention opportunities. AIDS. 2009 May 15; 23(8): 875–885.

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