-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Liver transplants to treat a
common type of liver cancer are a viable option for people infected
with HIV, according to new research.
The Italian study, published May 10 in the journal
The Oncologist, found that the AIDS-causing virus doesn't
affect survival rates and cancer recurrence after transplants among
HIV patients with this particular type of liver cancer, called
hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The study's authors noted, however,
that HCC is more aggressive in people with HIV and it is becoming a
major cause of death among these patients as antiretroviral
treatment prolongs their lives.
"The key message of this study is that liver transplantation is a valid option for HCC treatment in HIV-infected patients," the study's authors wrote in a journal news release. "We suggest that HIV-infected patients must be offered the same liver transplant options for HCC treatment currently provided to HIV-uninfected subjects."
The study involved 30 HIV-positive patients and 125 patients not
infected with HIV who received a liver transplant to treat HCC at
three different hospitals in northern Italy between 2004 and
During a follow-up period of roughly 32 months, the researchers
found a recurrence of HCC in 6.7 percent of the patients with HIV
and 14.4 percent of the patients who were not HIV positive.
The study also revealed that survival was similar for all of the
patients one year after surgery and three years post-surgery.
The researchers, led by Dr. Fabrizio Di Benedetto, associate
professor of surgery at the University of Modena, said the
HIV-positive patients were treated with antiretroviral therapy
until they underwent the transplant. The therapy was not resumed
until their liver function stabilized after surgery.
None of the HIV-positive patients developed AIDS during the
post-surgery follow-up period. The study's authors suggested that
this may be due to timely resumption of HIV therapy following the
New options in antiviral therapy for people with HIV could
improve control of the HIV virus as well as outcomes following
liver transplant for HCC, the researchers said.
Patients with HIV undergoing liver transplant for HCC would
benefit most from a multidisciplinary approach to care, the study
authors said, which would involve collaboration among oncologists,
radiologists, gastroenterologists, liver surgeons and infectious
The American Cancer Society provides more information on
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