Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tumor Necrosis Factor Blockers May Not Cause Cancer After All

Date:
September 1, 2006
Source:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Summary:
Researchers set out to investigate the association between treatment with TNF blockers and occurrence of cancer in a large sample of patients with RA. Their results indicate that biologic DMARD therapy poses no greater risk for cancer than therapy with a standard prescription DMARD, methotrexate (MTX).

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune, inflammatory disease marked by progressive joint and organ damage, face a high risk of developing cancer.

Their vulnerability, especially to lymphoma and leukemia, may be due to the nature of RA. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) -- including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) antagonists, a type of biologic DMARD -- have also been implicated. TNF blockers, which work by attaching to and impeding chemical messengers behind inflammation, have had a significant impact on the treatment of RA. They have also been linked to lymphoma among users. In fact, reports of lymphoma prompted the Food and Drug Administration to mandate adding a cancer risk warning to the labels of three TNF blockers: etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), and adalimumab (Humira).

Motivated by persistent concerns and inconclusive studies, researchers at Harvard Medical School's Brigham and Women's Hospital set out to investigate the association between treatment with TNF blockers and occurrence of cancer in a large sample of patients with RA. Their results, featured in the September 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, indicate that biologic DMARD therapy poses no greater risk for cancer than therapy with a standard prescription DMARD, methotrexate (MTX).

The researchers focused on 7,830 RA patients, age 65 and older, drawn from healthcare databases in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and British Columbia, Canada. Subjects included 1,152 biologic DMARD users and 7,306 MTX users. Of those treated with a biologic DMARD, 64 percent had used etanercept, 33 percent had used infliximab, and the remaining 2 percent had used anakinra (Kineret). 55 percent had previously used MTX and 39 percent were receiving MTX when they began anti-TFN therapy.

Based on medical utilization information, the researchers measured every subject's general health and RA-related characteristics during the 6-month period before exposure to either a biologic DMARD or MTX. In general, biologic DMARD users had more severe RA than MTX users. No subject had a diagnosis of any cancer before starting their prescribed drug treatment. Each subject was followed after beginning use of either a biologic DMARD or MTX, with attention to diagnosis of cancer followed by any course or combination of palliative care, biopsy, radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. Using time-varying propensity scores to adjust for a wide range of possible factors and stratified proportional hazards regression, researchers estimated the effects of biological DMARDs on cancer.

From their rigorous definition of cancer, researchers identified a total of 11 cancers of the blood and lymphatic systems and 46 cancerous tumors during 2,940 person-years of biologic DMARD use, and 58 cancers of the blood and lymphatic systems and 558 tumors during 30,300 person-years of MTX use. Comparing biologic DMARD users with MTX users, the hazard ratio was 1.37 for blood-related cancers and 0.91 for solid tumors. The overall difference in estimated cancer risk was less than 5 percent between RA patients treated with a TNF blocker and those treated with a standard DMARD.

"We found no significant increase in the risk of cancers in biologic DMARD users," notes the study's lead authors, Soko Setoguchi, M.D. Dr.P.H and Sebastian Schneeweiss, M.D, Sc.D. "Our data indicate that it is unlikely that RA patients who have received biologic agents have a much greater risk of lymphoproliterative disorders, hematologic malignancies, and solid tumors compared with MTX users." Drs, Setoguchi and Schneeweiss, however, acknowledges the challenge of studying the effects of a relatively novel therapy on rare forms of blood cancer, as well as the need for ongoing studies into the risks and benefits associated with anti-TNF therapy.

Article: "Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonist Use and Cancer in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis," Soko Setoguchi, Daniel H. Solomon, Michael E. Weinblatt, Jeffrey N. Katz, Jerry Avorn, Robert J. Glynn, E. Francis Cook, Greg Carney, and Sebastian Schneeweiss, Arthritis & Rheumatism, September 2006; (DOI: 10.1002/art.22056).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "Tumor Necrosis Factor Blockers May Not Cause Cancer After All." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060831084453.htm>.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. (2006, September 1). Tumor Necrosis Factor Blockers May Not Cause Cancer After All. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060831084453.htm
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "Tumor Necrosis Factor Blockers May Not Cause Cancer After All." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060831084453.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Nigerian authorities have shut and quarantined a Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of the Ebola virus, the first recorded case of the highly-infectious disease in Africa's most populous economy. David Pollard reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Newsy (July 29, 2014) According to a new study, just five minutes of running or jogging a day could add years to your life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Newsy (July 29, 2014) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses little threat to Americans, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins