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Hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with HIV

Dika, Imane El; Harding, James J.; Abou-Alfa, Ghassan K.

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: January 2017 - Volume 12 - Issue 1 - p 20–25
doi: 10.1097/COH.0000000000000335

Purpose of review Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is becoming an important cause of mortality in patients with HIV, attributed to coinfection with hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, and the longer survival advantage these patients are achieving after introducing the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimens.

Recent findings In addition to hepatitis infection, immunosuppression secondary to HIV infection, direct impact of the virus on liver parenchyma, and the use of hepatotoxic antiretroviral drugs, all contribute to HCC pathogenesis. Screening is very important in this particular population; data on population-specific guidelines are still controversial and scarce. Liver transplantation remains the treatment of choice in eligible patients. Trials on sorafenib have not included patients with HIV; yet, we know from small retrospective series that it might be safe and effective.

Summary In the HAART era, HCC is arising as a common non-AIDS defining cancer with high impact on morbidity and mortality of HIV-infected patients. Candidates for liver transplantation should be offered this option regardless of HIV infection. Safety and efficacy of sorafenib and other treatment modalities should be further studied and offered as deemed applicable to HIV patients diagnosed with HCC.

aMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

bWeill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA

Correspondence to Ghassan K. Abou-Alfa, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 300 East 66th Street, New York, NY 10065, USA. Tel: +1 6468246566; e-mail:

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