Influence of anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy on cancer incidence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have had a prior malignancy: Results from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register

W. G. Dixon, K. D. Watson, M. Lunt, L. K. Mercer, K. L. Hyrich, D. P M Symmons, Nicola Maiden, Tom Price, Neil Hopkinson, Sheila O'Reilly, Lesley Hordon, Ian Griffiths, Duncan Porter, Hilary Capell, Andy Hassell, Romela Benitha, Ernest Choy, David Walsh, Paul Emery, Susan KnightIan Bruce, Allister Taggart, David Scott, Paul Thompson, Fiona McCrae, Rhian Goodfellow, George Kitas, Ronald Jubb, Rikki Abernethy, Shane Clarke, Sandra Green, Paul Sanders, Amanda Coulson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective. To explore the influence of anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy upon the incidence of cancer in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and prior malignancy. Methods. Using data from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register, a national prospective observational study established in 2001, we identified 293 patients with a prior malignancy from over 14,000 patients with RA. We compared rates of incident malignancy in 177 anti-TNF-treated patients and 117 patients with active RA treated with traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), all with prior malignancy. One patient switched therapy and contributed to both cohorts. Results. The rates of incident malignancy were 25.3 events/1,000 person-years in the anti-TNF cohort and 38.3/1,000 person-years in the DMARD cohort, generating an age- and sex-adjusted incidence rate ratio of 0.58 (95% confidence interval 0.23-1.43) for the anti-TNF-treated cohort compared with the DMARD cohort. Of the patients with prior melanomas, 3 (18%) of 17 in the anti-TNF cohort developed an incident malignancy, compared with 0 of 10 in the DMARD cohort. Conclusion. The way in which UK rheumatologists are selecting patients with RA and prior malignancy to receive anti-TNF therapy is not leading to an increased risk of incident malignancy. Although reassuring, these results should not be interpreted as indicating that it is safe to treat all RA patients with prior malignancy with anti-TNF therapy. © 2010, American College of Rheumatology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-763
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis Care & Research
Volume62
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

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