Treating lupus

Has Imuran® been linked to cancer in people with lupus?

Many people are concerned about the risk of cancer after having lupus for a long time, or after being treated for many years with immunosuppressive drugs such as Imuran®. So far, there is no definite evidence for a strong link between Imuran and cancer in lupus.

A study including almost 10,000 people with lupus found that the risk to develop cancer is mostly related to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (which affects certain white cells), lung cancer, and liver/bile duct cancers. The strongest risk factor that we know of for cancer in lupus is probably smoking, which increases the risk for cancer in lupus just as it does in other people. 

Medically reviewed on July 18, 2013