Systemic lupus erythematosus is associated with an increased risk for 16 cancers, including Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma, but a decreased risk for prostate cancer and cutaneous melanoma, according to data published in Arthritis Research & Therapy.
“Due to early meticulous diagnosis and the progress of treatment, survival rates for SLE patients have increased remarkably in recent decades,” Lebin Song, of the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, in China, and colleagues wrote. “Despite their increased life expectancy, these patients still have two- to five-times the risk of death compared with the general population, not only for all-cause mortality but also for mortality from cancer. As a result, more attention should be paid to the risks of cancer development in patients with SLE.”
To analyze the association between SLE and the risk for 24 types of cancer, Song and colleagues conducted a search of the PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Science online databases for relevant articles published through May 15, 2018. For their analysis, the researchers limited their search to English-language articles that included patients diagnosed with SLE, focused on the incidence of cancers, and provided sufficient data by means of standardized incident rates and 95% confidence intervals.
SLE is associated with an increased risk for 16 cancers, including Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma, according to data.
Song and colleagues identified 2,019 relevant articles in their primary literature review. After removing duplicates, review articles, letters, case reports, comments and editorials, and those that failed to meet the inclusion criteria, 24 studies were approved for the final analysis. The associations between SLE and the various cancer types were calculated using pooled standardized incidence rates and 95% confidence intervals.
According to the researchers, SLE was associated with increased risk of overall cancers and cancer risk in both genders. Specifically, patients with SLE were at an increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma, as well as cervix, vaginal, renal, bladder, esophagus, gastric, hepatobiliary, lung, oropharynx, larynx, non-melanoma skin and thyroid cancers. SLE was also associated with a decreased risk for prostate cancer and cutaneous melanoma. No association was found between SLE and breast, uterus, ovarian, pancreatic, colorectal or brain cancers.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first and largest systematic evaluation to reveal the relationship between SLE and the development of cancer risk,” Song and colleagues wrote. “These outcomes provide a fairly valid and generalizable description of the occurrence of cancers in SLE. Future high-quality research is required to verify our findings, and this should pay more attention to the underlying mechanisms between SLE and cancers risks.” – by Jason Laday
Disclosure: Song reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.