Patients with HIV/AIDS or who have undergone a kidney transplant have a much greater risk of developing certain cancers, a research paper has revealed.
Researchers from the University of New South Wales have published a study in the Lancet which found that these immune-deficient patient groups are more likely to develop 20 different types of cancer.
For example, patients with HIV/AIDS are 11 times more likely to develop Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer which is associated with Epstein Barr Virus, and patients who have undergone a transplant have a four times higher risk than the general population.
Lead author professor Andrew Grulich commented: "The only thing that people with AIDS and transplant recipients share is immune deficiency, otherwise their risk factors for cancer differ markedly."
The professor said that both groups have similar cancer rates to the general population for cancers which are not linked with viruses, such as breast and prostate cancer.
"This evidence suggests that immune deficiency is associated with risk of cancer and this suggests we need to maintain people's immune systems at a higher level," he added.