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29-10-2019 | Rheumatoid arthritis | News

News in brief

Reassurance for TNF inhibitor use in RA patients with history of cancer


medwireNews: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors are not associated with an increased risk for new or recurrent cancer in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and prior malignancy, confirms a meta-analysis.

The analysis included 12 case–control or cohort studies, with a total of 13,598 participants, that assessed the effect of biologic agents on cancer risk relative to use of conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), explain the researchers.

Data from the 10 studies on TNF inhibitors showed no significant increase in cancer risk with these agents versus conventional DMARDs, with an absolute incidence of new or recurrent cancer of 34.4 and 31.8 cases per 1000 patient–years, respectively.

The findings were similar in subgroup analyses stratifying patients by tumor type, interval between cancer diagnosis and TNF inhibitor initiation, and duration of exposure to TNF inhibitors, report Zhuoli Zhang (Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China) and co-researchers in Rheumatology.

The analysis also included three studies of rituximab, and again there was no increased risk for cancer among people taking the anti-CD20 antibody.

The team concludes: “More investigations are warranted to explore the risk of cancer development in individual cancer [types] as well as to determine [the] optimal time to initiate biologic therapy after the diagnosis of cancer or completion of cancer treatment.”

By Shreeya Nanda

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2019 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

Rheumatology 2019; doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kez475