Prevalence of Adenomas Found on Colonoscopy in Patients With HIV

Ellen Gutkin, Syed A. Hussain, Preeti Mehta, Sang H. Kim, Simcha Pollack, Moshe Rubin


Background: The life expectancy of patients with HIV has increased significantly since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy in 1995. Although this population of patients now carries less risk for the development of AIDS defining illnesses and malignancies, they are still at risk for non-AIDS defining cancers, such as colon, prostate, and breast. Several studies have shown that HIV infected patients have a higher prevalence of advanced colonic neoplasia which occur at a younger age. Our aim is to examine the prevalence of adenomas and adenocarcinoma in HIV patients undergoing colonoscopy.

Methods: HIV patients seen in our gastroenterology clinic and inpatient service undergoing colonoscopy were identified from 2010 - 2011. Indication was screening in 27 patients and diagnostic in 23 patients. Significant lesions were defined as adenomas, serrated polyps, and adenocarcinoma.

Results: Total 50 patients were included in the study, 32 male and 18 female (mean age: 53.6; range 37 - 72 years), 25 patients were African American, 21 were Hispanic, 3 were Caucasian, and one was Indian, 39 patients had undetectable HIV RNA, 30 patients had CD4 lymphocyte counts greater than 500, 20 had CD4 lymphocyte counts less than 500, and 4 patients had CD4 lymphocyte counts less than 200, 52% (26/50) of patients had polyps. Significant lesions (adenomas and serrated polyps) were seen in 34% (17/50) of patients, 39% in diagnostic and 30% in screening procedures (P = 0.56). Males were found to have significant lesions 28% of the time as compared to 44% of females (P = 0.35), 43% of Hispanics had significant lesions versus 24% of African Americans (P = 0.22), 25% of the patients under age 50 were found to have significant lesions, 45% of the patients with detectable HIV RNA levels were found to have significant lesions vs 31% (P = 0.48). Surprisingly, patients with CD4 counts > 500 had significantly more adenomas than those with CD4 counts < 500, 47% vs 15% (P = 0.03). No adenocarcinomas were seen in our patient population.

Conclusion: In our case series of HIV patients the adenoma detection rate was 34% overall, 45% in the patients with detectable HIV RNA levels, and 47% in patients with CD4 counts > 500. Additionally, there was a 25% adenoma detection rate in patients less than fifty years of age. This data reinforces the need for aggressive colon cancer screening in the HIV population.

Gastroenterol Res. 2012;5(2):52-56


HIV; Adenoma; Colonoscopy; Polyp; Colorectal cancer screening

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