Evidence indicates that immunosupression is associated with the development of certain cancers. The pathogenesis of HIV disease includes an alteration in innate immunity, mediated through NK and NKT cells. The evaluation of innate immune status in HIV patients prior to cancer diagnosis may identify the specific immunological events preceding the development of malignant disease. We evaluated the association between immunophenotypically defined NK, NKT, and CD8+ cell percentages and incident malignancies in 1817 HIV(+) women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) who were followed for a median of 7.5 years. A total of 52 incident cancers of 20 different sites were identified. Compared to cancer-free women, cancer cases were older (p < 0.01), more likely to be anti-HCV(+) (p = 0.02), and had higher baseline median HIV RNA levels than controls. The CD8+, NK, and NKT percents at baseline were not related to cancer risk. However, when time-dependent values for NKT cells were used, higher levels of NKT cells were associated with a reduced risk of cancer (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.67, 95 CI = 0.50, 0.89 per NKT percentage point). In addition to the loss of CD4+ lymphocytes and an increased risk of opportunistic infections, HCV coinfected individuals may also experience alterations in innate immunity, including reduced NKT and NK cell number and possibly their function. In time-dependent analyses, increased numbers of NKT cells were associated with a reduced risk of cancer. HIV-induced innate immune dysfunction may contribute to the eventual emergence of cancer in the setting of existing coinfections and altered immunosurveillance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases