No significant link found between biologics, melanoma development in inflammatory diseases
Patients treated with biologic therapy for inflammatory diseases may not have a higher risk for developing melanoma, a systematic review and meta-analysis found.
Seven cohort studies, including more than 34,000 patients treated with biologics and more than 135,000 patients treated with systemic therapies, were analyzed in the review. Two studies involved patients with inflammatory bowel disease, four studies involved patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and one study involved patients with psoriasis.
The pooled relative risk for melanoma in patients with IBD treated with biologics compared with conventional systemic therapy was 1.20 (95% CI, 0.60-2.40). In patients with RA treated with biologics, the pooled relative risk was 1.20 (95% CI, 0.83-1.74) compared with systemic therapy. In patients with psoriasis, the hazard ratio was 1.57 (95% CI, 0.61-4.09).
Despite these positive associations, the differences were not statistically significant.
“We did not find a statistically significant association between biologic exposure and development of melanoma in patients with IBD, RA and psoriasis compared with patients receiving conventional systemic therapy,” the study authors wrote.
The studies did not adjust for UV radiation exposure, race, ethnicity or other melanoma risk factors, which was a weakness of the analysis.
“The findings suggest that clinically important increases in melanoma risk in patients treated with biologic therapy for common inflammatory diseases cannot be ruled out based on current evidence. However, further studies with large patient numbers that adjust for key risk factors are needed to resolve the issue of long-term safety of biologic therapy,” the authors wrote