On June 20, Dr. James Goedert of DCEG and Dr. Robert Yarchoan of the Center for Cancer Research presented information about cancer in individuals with HIV/AIDS to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA).
Dr. Goedert noted that the outbreak of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) among homosexual men in New York and California began in 1981. In 1996, the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) increased the lifespan of HIV-infected patients. At the same time, the development of HAART contributed to an increase in the number of people living with AIDS. Currently 1 million HIV-positive individuals reside in the United States; half of them have AIDS. HAART is also affecting the spectrum of malignancies in HIV-positive patients. Data from the AIDS Cancer Match Registry, which currently links 465,000 people with HIV/AIDS to population-based cancer registries in 6 metropolitan areas and 7 states, indicate that the incidence of KS and some types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has decreased, but the risk remains substantially elevated. Emerging malignancies, including Hodgkin's lymphoma and anal, liver, and lung cancer are on the rise.
Dr. Yarchoan described the difficulties and opportunities in developing appropriate treatments for cancer in the context of HIV infection and HAART therapy. He noted that such patients have two complex life-threatening disorders, and this poses substantial challenges in developing, assessing, and delivering optimal therapy. The genesis of cancer in this population represents potential opportunities to study those factors in carcinogenesis, while changes in the treatment of HIV will require new therapeutic considerations. Most AIDS-associated malignancies are caused by oncogenic viruses, which present unique opportunities for targeted therapies. These approaches may also prove useful in treating viral-induced tumors arising in immune-competent patients.
Tomaszewski Named Deputy Director of DCTD
"As the division advances its efforts to lead the development of novel cancer therapies nationally, Dr. Tomaszewski will play a critical role in helping DCTD move these new compounds forward seamlessly and quickly," said Dr. James Doroshow, director of DCTD. "His broad expertise in therapeutics development will be essential in this process."
Retiring BSA Members Honored
Drs. Neil J. Clendeninn, a clinical pharmacology consultant; Thomas Curran of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; William G. Kaelin, Jr., of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Christine A. Miaskowski of the University of California, San Francisco concluded their 4-year BSA terms at this meeting. Dr. Young praised their commitment to excellence in cancer research, as well as their contributions to BSA during their terms.