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Arthritis patients taking newer treatments do not have an overall increased cancer risk
Date:5/27/2011

Only three percent (n=181) of patients in the study cohort receiving anti-tumour necrosis factor agents (anti-TNFs) for treatment of their arthritis developed a first cancer within nine years and overall risk was not dependent on the type of arthritis.

The nine year follow-up study conducted at Gentofte University Hospital, Denmark demonstrated that relative risk ((RR)=1.03 (95%confidence interval 0.82-1.30)) was not increased in patients treated with anti-TNFs compared to patients who had never taken anti-TNFs during 23,965 person-years follow-up. Overall cancer risk was not dependent on the type of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (n=3,496) (RR=1.05, 95% CI 0.82-1.34), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) (n=670) (RR=1.98, 95% CI 0.24-16.18) or other arthritis (n=499) (RR=0.79 95% CI 0.08-8.33).

"Some studies have suggested that taking anti-TNFs may increase an individual's risk of cancer however this study provides long term evidence that an overall risk of cancer is not associated with this group of treatments", said Dr. PhD, Lene Dreyer from the Department of Rheumatology at Gentofte University Hospital. "TNF is a small signalling molecule called a cytokine and is able to inhibit the development of tumours by interfering with signalling pathways. Therefore drugs targeting TNF can influence the development of tumours, although the extent of this impact remains unclear."

The study was based on the national Danish DANBIO registry which was initiated in the year 2000 to monitor treatment with biologic medicines in Denmark and includes patients with RA, PsA and ankylosing spondylitis. A national cohort of 13,699 patients was identified and of these, 5,598 (41 percent) had started anti-TNF treatment. The data from the DANBIO database was linked with the Danish Cancer Registry and analysed.

Incidence of cancer among patients ever treated with anti-TNF agents was compared to that of patients not treated, by evaluating relative
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Contact: Rory Berrie
rory.berrie@cohnwolfe.com
44-790-151-3297
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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