medwireNews: Study findings reported in Rheumatology suggest that anti-Sjögren’s syndrome/scleroderma autoantigen 1 (SSSCA1) antibodies may warrant further investigation as a biomarker for cancer risk among patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
In their case–control study of 414 people with SSc, Ami Shah and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, found that the 209 individuals with cancer were significantly more likely to test positive for anti-SSSCA1 antibodies on an immunoprecipitation assay than the 205 without, at rates of 11% and 4%, respectively. This association remained significant after adjustment for factors including sex, race, age at SSc onset, and smoking.
Among people with cancer, the mean time between the first non-Raynaud’s SSc symptom and cancer onset was significantly longer among anti-SSSCA1-positive versus -negative patients (12.3 vs 6.9 years), while the mean time from the first Raynaud’s or non-Raynaud’s symptom to cancer diagnosis was numerically greater in the anti-SSSCA1-positive group (15.6 vs 11.4 years), albeit without reaching statistical significance.
“In the context of prior data showing overexpression of SSSCA1 in several cancers,” these findings raise “the intriguing possibility that anti-SSSCA1 antibodies could be part of a protective anti-tumor immune response that delays cancer emergence in patients with SSc,” write Shah et al.
They conclude: “Future studies are warranted to validate these findings in other SSc cohorts with well-defined cancer status, to examine the potential anti-tumor effects of anti-SSSCA1 immune responses, and to determine whether SSSCA1 is highly expressed in cancerous tissues from these patients.”
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