Study Confirms Known Association Between Lupus and Cancer Risk
New research published in Arthritis Research & Therapy evaluates the link between lupus and cancer risk, supporting the data from earlier studies. The study entitled, The risks of cancer development in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis, indicates an association between SLE and increased risk for several cancers (blood, gastrointestinal and lung), decreased risk for prostate cancer and cutaneous melanoma, and no effect on some others. The analysis reveals that among common types of cancer (in people without lupus), including breast, uterus, ovarian, pancreatic, colorectal and brain, there is no significant association. This should remind people living with lupus to be mindful of their health, but there is no cause for alarm.
The 16 cancer types linked to lupus include non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, cervix, vagina/vulva, renal, bladder, esophagus, gastric, hepatobiliary, lung, oropharynx, larynx, non-melanoma skin, and thyroid cancers. The cancer risk is found in both genders; for some cancers, the increase in risk is small, others more significant.
“The lupus community is already aware of the increased cancer risk and diligently screens for cancers as part of routine care,” said Anca D. Askanase, MD, MPH, Director, Columbia University Lupus Center at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Lupus Foundation of America, Medical-Scientific Advisory Council member. “The study results are not novel nor unexpected, just more precise. There is no need to re-evaluate the long-term cancer surveillance practices nor reassess current treatment regimens in lupus patients.”
“What’s important is that physicians and people with lupus continue to be vigilant,” added Dr. Askanase. “People with lupus should focus on eliminating known lifestyle risks for cancer, such as alcohol and smoking.”