Risk of Germ Cell Tumors among Men with HIV/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

Viral Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 20892, USA.
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention (Impact Factor: 4.13). 07/2007; 16(6):1266-9. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-0042
Source: PubMed


Men with HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are reported to be at increased risk for germ cell tumors (GCT), particularly testicular seminoma. We investigated correlates of this association to improve understanding of GCTs.
Testicular and extratesticular seminoma and nonseminoma cases were found by linking population-based cancer and HIV/AIDS registry data for 268,950 men who developed AIDS in 1980 to 2003. Standardized incidence ratios (SIR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were used to compare these cases with the number of cases expected in the demographically matched population.
Overall, seminoma risk (161 cases: SIR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.6-2.2) was increased significantly with HIV/AIDS, whereas nonseminoma risk was not (56 cases: SIR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.96-1.7). Extratesticular GCT risk also was increased (11 cases: SIR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1-3.7). Seminoma risk was elevated regardless of age, race, or HIV/AIDS transmission group. It was highest for disseminated disease (SIR, 4.7; 95% CI, 2.9-7.2) and within 9 months of AIDS onset (SIR, 7.6; 95% CI, 5.8-9.6), but it was unrelated to CD4 count and duration of HIV/AIDS. The excess risk of seminoma declined in more recent calendar periods, and it was no longer elevated (SIR, 1.4; 95% CI, 0.9-1.9) in the highly active antiretroviral treatment era.
Men with HIV/AIDS had an increased risk of seminoma, but this risk may have attenuated with improving anti-HIV/AIDS treatments. Although detection bias could partly explain the excess of this cancer, various lines of evidence support a causal relationship. Possible mechanisms underlying this association include impaired tumor immunosurveillance or AIDS-related testicular atrophy.

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    • "The progression of CIS to invasive TGCC is not yet completely understood, although the loss of PTEN has been shown to be a common event [100]. Even though a role of the immune system in TGCC pathogenesis has been suggested [101] [102], studies regarding the specificity and the effect of immune response upon invasion contradict each other [103] [104]. With regard to their genomic constitution upon malignant transformation, polyploidization to a tetraploid stage is thought to be an early event, occurring before the formation of CIS [105] [106]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Germ cell tumors (GCTs) represent a diverse group of tumors presumably originating from (early fetal) developing germ cells. Most frequent are the testicular germ cell cancers (TGCC). Overall, TGCC is the most frequent malignancy in Caucasian males (20-40yr) and remains an important cause of (treatment related) mortality in these young men. The strong association between the phenotype of TGCC stem cell components and their totipotent ancestor (fetal primordial germ cell or gonocyte) makes these tumors highly relevant from an onco-fetal point of view. This review subsequently discusses the evidence for the early embryonic origin of TGCCs, followed by an overview of the crucial association between TGCC pathogenesis, genetics, environmental exposure and the (fetal) testicular micro-environment (genvironment). This culminates in an evaluation of three genvironmentally modulated hallmarks of TGCC directly related to the oncofetal pathogenesis of TGCC: (1) maintenance of pluripotency, (2) cell cycle control/cisplatin sensitivity and (3) regulation of proliferation/migration/apoptosis by KIT-KITL mediated receptor tyrosine kinase signaling. Briefly, TGCC exhibit identifiable stem cell components (seminoma and embryonal carcinoma) and progenitors that show large and consistent similarities to primordial/embryonic germ cells, their presumed totipotent cells of origin. TGCC pathogenesis depends crucially on a complex interaction of genetic and (micro-)environmental, i.e. genvironmental risk factors that have only been partly elucidated despite significant effort. TGCC stem cell components also show a high degree of similarity with embryonic stem/germ cells (ES) in the regulation of pluripotency and cell cycle control, directly related to their exquisite sensitivity to DNA damaging agents (e.g. cisplatin). Of note, (ES specific) micro-RNAs play a pivotal role in the crossover between cell cycle control, pluripotency and chemosensitivity. Moreover, multiple consistent observations reported TGCC to be associated with KIT-KITL mediated receptor tyrosine kinase signaling, a pathway crucially implicated in proliferation, migration and survival during embryogenesis including germ cell development. In conclusion, TGCCs are a fascinating model for onco-fetal developmental processes especially with regard to studying cell cycle control, pluripotency maintenance and KIT-KITL signaling. The knowledge presented here contributes to better understanding of the molecular characteristics of TGCC pathogenesis, translating to identification of at risk individuals and enhanced quality of care for TGCC patients (diagnosis, treatment and follow-up).
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    • "The excess risks of other rare tumors are small, and it is difficult to determine if exposures in PHA might be different from those in the general population because their etiologies are not known. Although based on few cases, the 2-fold increase in testicular cancer in Indian PHA [13] is interesting since the incidence of this cancer was, until the mid 1990s, also marginally increased in the developed countries [44]. No risk factors are known to be associated with testicular cancer. "
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    ABSTRACT: India has a large and evolving HIV epidemic. Little is known about cancer risk in Indian persons with HIV/AIDS (PHA) but risk is thought to be low. To describe the state of knowledge about cancer patterns in Indian PHA, we reviewed reports from the international and Indian literature. As elsewhere, non-Hodgkin lymphomas dominate the profile of recognized cancers, with immunoblastic/large cell diffuse lymphoma being the most common type. Hodgkin lymphoma is proportionally increased, perhaps because survival with AIDS is truncated by fatal infections. In contrast, Kaposi sarcoma is rare, in association with an apparently low prevalence of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. If confirmed, the reasons for the low prevalence need to be understood. Cervical, anal, vulva/vaginal and penile cancers all appear to be increased in PHA, based on limited data. The association may be confounded by sexual behaviors that transmit both HIV and human papillomavirus. Head and neck tumor incidence may also be increased, an important concern since these tumors are among the most common in India. Based on limited evidence, the increase is at buccal/palatal sites, which are associated with tobacco and betel nut chewing rather than human papillomavirus. With improving care of HIV and better management of infections, especially tuberculosis, the longer survival of PHA in India will likely increase the importance of cancer as a clinical problem in India. With the population's geographic and social diversity, India presents unique research opportunities that can be embedded in programs targeting HIV/AIDS and other public health priorities.
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