28 June 2002
A US study highlighting the aggressive nature of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in people infected with HIV has prompted the researchers to recommend sun avoidance and the use of sunscreen in this population.
The researchers also recommended aggressive SCC management after they found that people with high rates of recurrence and metastatic disease who eventually died were not initially treated aggressively with either combination surgery and radiotherapy or surgery and radical neck dissection.
They reviewed the cases of 10 people infected with HIV who had aggressive SCC based on a diameter larger than 1.5 cm, rapid growth, local recurrence, and/or evidence of metastases (Archives of Dermatology 2002; 138: 758-63).
Five of the 10 people died of metastatic SCC within 7 years of their initial diagnosis despite treatment. Morbidity and mortality from SCC was not related to stage of HIV or degree of immunosuppression.
Another study published in the same issue of the journal(2002; 138: 765-70) showed the natural history of malignant melanoma was more aggressive in people with HIV than in uninfected people.
People with HIV have shorter disease-free survival and overall survival from melanoma then other people, the authors wrote.
Their review of 17 people with melanoma and HIV did not show a link between CD4 cell counts and tumour thickness at the time of melanoma diagnosis.
Most people who died from melanoma or melanoma and HIV had not been treated for HIV or had only received single-agent retroviral therapy.
Last Reviewed: 27 June 2002