News Release 

Despite treatment, elderly cancer patients have worse outcomes if HIV-positive

New study investigates disparity in cancer-related mortality among patients 65 or older with and without HIV

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

TAMPA, Fla. (August 1, 2019) - Elderly cancer patients who are HIV-positive, particularly those with prostate and breast cancers, have worse outcomes compared to cancer patients in the same age range who do not have HIV. A Moffitt Cancer Center researcher, in collaboration with investigators at the National Cancer Institute, Duke University, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, took a closer look at the disparity, factoring in whether or not cancer treatment had an impact on outcomes among this patient population. Their findings were published today in JAMA Oncology.

"Previous studies have shown that HIV-infected cancer patients are more likely to die from their cancer than HIV-uninfected cancer patients. However, those studies have not been able to take into account detailed information on the treatments patients may have received, , including the exact type or timing of treatment," said Anna E. Coghill, Ph.D, M.P.H., assistant member of the Cancer Epidemiology Department at Moffitt.

Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Medicare-linked data, the researchers evaluated 288 HIV-infected and 307,980 HIV-uninfected patients, ages 65 years or older, who were diagnosed with non-advanced colorectal, lung, prostate or breast cancer and received stage-appropriate cancer treatment during the year after their cancer diagnosis.

Results showed that cancer-specific mortality was higher in HIV-infected cancer patients compared with their HIV-uninfected counterparts in breast and prostate cancers. Furthermore, they found that HIV-infected women were nearly twice as likely to experience disease relapse or death after successfully completing initial cancer therapy.

"As the HIV population continues to age, the association of HIV infection with poor breast and prostate cancer outcomes will become more important, especially because prostate cancer is projected to become the most common malignancy in the HIV population by 2020," said Coghill. "It is why we are stressing the need for more research on clinical strategies to improve outcomes for HIV-infected cancer patients."

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This research was funded by the intramural research program at the National Cancer Institute.

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 50 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt's scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is a Top 10 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. Moffitt's expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 6,000 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.5 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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