The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is accompanied by a significant increase in the incidence of neoplasms. Several causative agents have been proposed for this phenomenon. These include immunodeficiency and oncogenic DNA viruses and the HIV-1 protein Tat. Cancer in general is closely linked to genomic instability and DNA repair mechanisms. The latter maintains genomic stability and serves as a cellular anti-cancer barrier. Defects in DNA repair pathway are associated with carcinogenesis. This review focuses on newly discovered connections of the HIV-1 protein Tat, as well as cellular co-factors of Tat, to double-strand break DNA repair. We propose that the Tat-induced DNA repair deficiencies may play a significant role in the development of AIDS-associated cancer
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