Anal cancers among HIV-infected persons: HAART is not slowing rising incidence

Nancy F. Crum-Cianflone, Katherine Huppler Hullsiek, Vincent C. Marconi, Anuradha Ganesan, Amy Weintrob, Robert V. Barthel, Brian K. Agan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the incidence rates of anal cancer over the HIV epidemic and assess the impact of HAART use on anal cancer events. Methods: We evaluated the incidence of and factors associated with anal cancer using longitudinal data from the prospective U.S. Military Natural History Study (1985-2008). Poisson regression and Cox proportional hazard models were utilized. Results: Among 4506 HIV-infected men with 37 806 person-years of follow-up, anal cancer rates (per 100 000 person-years) increased five-fold, from 11 in the pre-HAART to 55 in the HAART era (P = 0.02). Rates continued to increase, reaching 128 in 2006-2008. Persons with HIV infection for more than 15 years had a 12-fold higher rate than those with less than 5 years (348 vs. 28, P < 0.01). At cancer diagnosis (n = 19), median age was 42 years, median CD4 cell count was 432 cells/μl, 74% had a CD4 nadir cell count less than 200 cells/μl, 42% had a prior AIDS event, and 74% had received HAART. From separate models, prior AIDS event (hazard ratio 3.88, P = 0.01) and lower CD4 nadir (hazard ratio 0.85 per 50 cell, P = 0.03) were associated with anal cancer, with a trend for a history of gonorrhea (hazard ratio 2.43, P = 0.07). Duration of HAART use was not associated with a reduced risk of anal cancer (hazard ratio 0.94, P = 0.42). Conclusion: Incidence rates of anal cancer have progressively increased during the HIV epidemic. Persons with a longer duration of HIV infection have a substantially higher rate of anal cancer. As HIV-infected persons are experiencing longer life expectancies and HAART does not appear protective of anal cancer, studies on preventive strategies are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-543
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anal cancer
  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Epidemiology
  • HIV
  • Incidence rates


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