Record linkage to correct under-ascertainment of cancers in HIV cohorts: the Sinikithemba HIV clinic linkage project.

Sengayi, Mazvita; Spoerri, Adrian; Egger, Matthias; Kielkowski, Danuta; Crankshaw, Tamaryn; Cloete, Christie; Giddy, Janet; Bohlius, Julia (2016). Record linkage to correct under-ascertainment of cancers in HIV cohorts: the Sinikithemba HIV clinic linkage project. International journal of cancer, 139(6), pp. 1209-1216. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1002/ijc.30154

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The surveillance of HIV-related cancers in South Africa is hampered by the lack of systematic collection of cancer diagnoses in HIV cohorts and the absence of HIV status in cancer registries. To improve cancer ascertainment and estimate cancer incidence, we linked records of adults (aged ≥ 16 years) on antiretroviral treatment (ART) enrolled at Sinikithemba HIV clinic, McCord Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) with the cancer records of public laboratories in KZN province using probabilistic record linkage methods. We calculated incidence rates for all cancers, Kaposi sarcoma (KS), cervix, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-AIDS defining cancers (NADCs) before and after inclusion of linkage-identified cancers with 95% confidence intervals (CI). A total of 8,721 records of HIV-positive patients were linked with 35,536 cancer records. Between 2004 and 2010 we identified 448 cancers, 82% (n=367) were recorded in the cancer registry only, 10% (n=43) in the HIV cohort only and 8% (n=38) both in the HIV cohort and the cancer registry. The overall cancer incidence rate in patients starting ART increased from 134 (95% CI 91-212) to 877 (95% CI 744-1,041) after inclusion of linkage-identified cancers. Incidence rates were highest for KS (432, 95% CI 341-555), followed by cervix (259, 95% CI 179-390) and NADCs (294, 95% CI 223-395) per 100,000 person-years. Ascertainment of cancer in HIV cohorts is incomplete, probabilistic record linkage is both feasible and essential for cancer ascertainment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Sengayi, Mazvita Molleen; Spörri, Adrian; Egger, Matthias and Bohlius, Julia


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

07 Jun 2016 15:20

Last Modified:

13 Sep 2017 19:58

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

HIV Record linkage South Africa cancer




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