CHICAGO, IL (May 30, 2014)More than a quarter of HIV+ patients are also infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which may complicate treatment and care decisions after a cancer diagnosis. The specifics of those complications haven't been well-researched in the past. Results from a new Fox Chase Cancer Center study on this patient population may start filling in that gap.
Fox Chase Hematologist and Medical Oncologist Stefan K. Barta, MD, MS, MRCP who led the study analyzed data from HIV+ patients diagnosed with lymphoma, collected over 17 years, to better understand how HCV infection influences survival outcomes. Dr. Barta's collaborators will present the group's findings at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Reactivation of HCV, in which the virus is detectable but not necessarily causing symptoms, is common in HIV+ patients. Notably, Dr. Barta and his team found that reactivation of HCV did not appear to worsen survival outcomes for lymphoma patients who also had HIV.
"Many patients do experience some reactivation of the Hepatitis C virus, but in most patients it seems to be self-limited and does not affect outcomes for cancer treatment," said Dr. Barta.
He noted that treating lymphoma patients co-infected with HIV and HCV requires caution and care. HIV more than triples the risk of liver failure in individuals also infected with HCV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And among cancer patients, HIV+ patients infected with HCV can fall into a feedback loop that may lessen the effectiveness of treatment.
"Patients undergoing chemotherapy can experience reactivation of the Herpes C virus, which in turn can lead to liver failure," said Dr. Barta. "This means we have to dose-reduce chemotherapy, which could negatively affect outcomes."
In addition, HIV+ patients often take a host of other medications, including antiretrovirals, which mak
|Contact: Diana Quattrone|
Fox Chase Cancer Center