[3 min read] Risk of skin cancer in patients with HIV

What is the risk of skin cancer in patients with HIV? The risk of skin cancer in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has not been extensively studied. A Danish study sought to determine the risk of skin cancer in patients with the virus, and compare it with the risk in the non-HIV population.

In a matched, nationwide, population-based cohort study, researchers compared the risk of skin cancer in 4,280 HIV patients with a cohort of non-HIV patients. Primary outcomes were time to first basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), or malignant melanoma.

Patients with HIV had an increased risk of BCC and SCC with incident rate ratios of 1.79 (95% confidence interval 1.43-2.22) and 5.40 (95% confidence interval 3.07-9.52), respectively, compared with the non-HIV population. Researchers observed no increased risk of malignant melanoma. Low nadir CD4 cell count was associated with an increased risk of SCC. The increased risk of BCC among patients with HIV was restricted to men who had sex with men.

The study concluded that patients with HIV have an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Furthermore, low nadir, but not current, CD4 cell count as a marker of immunosuppression was associated with an increased risk of SCC.

The findings of the study suggest that clinicians managing patients with HIV should consider regularly screening these patients for skin cancer.

Read more recent research on skin cancer risk factors.

Source: Risk of skin cancer in patients with HIV: A Danish nationwide cohort study. Omland, Silje Haukali et al. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology , Volume 79 , Issue 4 , 689 – 695

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