Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

BMC Cancer


Geisel School of Medicine


Background: The incidence of anal squamous cell carcinoma has been increasing, particularly in people living with HIV (PLWH). There is concern that radiosensitizing drugs, such as protease inhibitors, commonly used in the management of HIV, may increase toxicities in patients undergoing chemoradiation. This study examines treatment outcomes and toxicities in PLWH managed with and without protease inhibitors who are receiving chemoradiation for anal cancer. Methods: Patient demographic, HIV management, and cancer treatment information were extracted from multiple Veterans Affairs databases. Patients were also manually chart reviewed. Among PLWH undergoing chemoradiation for anal carcinoma, therapy outcomes and toxicities were compared between those treated with and without protease inhibitors at time of cancer treatment. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square, Cox regression analysis, and logistic regression. Results: A total of 219 PLWH taking anti-retroviral therapy undergoing chemoradiation for anal cancer were identified and included in the final analysis. The use of protease inhibitors was not associated with any survival outcome including colostomy-free survival, progression-free survival, or overall survival (all adjusted hazard ratio p-values> 0.05). Regarding toxicity, protease inhibitor use was not associated with an increased odds of hospitalizations or non-hematologic toxicities; however, protease inhibitor use was associated with increased hospitalizations for hematologic toxicities, including febrile neutropenia (p < 0.01). Conclusion: The use of protease inhibitors during chemoradiation for anal carcinoma was not associated with any clinical outcome or increase in non-hematologic toxicity. Their use was associated with increased hospitalizations for hematologic toxicities. Further prospective research is needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of protease inhibitors for patients undergoing chemoradiation.



Original Citation

Yoder, A.K., Lakomy, D.S., Dong, Y. et al. The association between protease inhibitors and anal cancer outcomes in veterans living with HIV treated with definitive chemoradiation: a retrospective study. BMC Cancer 21, 776 (2021).