Squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck in patients with HIV infection

Francisco J. Civantos, Efrain Cambronero, Carlos Duque, William Raub, Kasi S. Sridhar, W. Jarrard Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Although there is a paucity of published information on HIV-positive patients with squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck, the association between this cancer and HIV infection is well-recognized. The medical records of 19 patients with HIV infection and head and neck cancer who were treated between January 1990 and June 1996 were obtained through our tumor registry. All patients had positive results on serologic testing for HIV and had a histopathologic diagnosis of squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Forty-two percent of patients were younger than 50 years of age. Approximately 90% had a history of exposure to tobacco or alcohol. Thirteen patients (68%) fulfilled the 1993 revised criteria for AIDS from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six other patients were HIV-positive without signs or symptoms of AIDS. The most common site of involvement was the oropharynx (42%), The patients' AIDS status was associated with advanced stage of squamous-cell carcinoma and poor survival (P = 0.01). Median survival for the entire group was 10.3 months. Of the six HIV-positive patients without AIDS, four had stage I/II cancer. Four of the six were alive with no evidence of disease at a mean follow-up of 17 months. Results suggested that squamous-cell carcinoma of the upper aerodigestive tract may develop at a younger age in patients with HIV infection. Long-term survival of squamous-cell carcinoma is most likely to occur in asymptomatic HIV-positive patients with CD4 cell counts greater than 200 μ/L.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-128
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 19 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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