TNF Inhibitor Use Doesn't Up Short-Term Cancer Incidence

In rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of chronic immune-mediated diseases with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors does not result in any short-term increase in cancer incidence, compared with other commonly used therapies for these conditions, according to a study published online Oct. 10 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Kevin Haynes, Pharm.D., of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted the Safety Assessment of Biologic Therapy study using data from 29,555 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 6,357 patients with inflammatory bowel disease, 1,298 patients with psoriasis, and 2,498 patients with psoriatic arthritis. The authors sought to compare the incidence of cancer with the use of TNF inhibitors compared with other disease modifying therapies.

The researchers found that, compared with disease-specific alternatives, TNF inhibitor therapy was not associated with an increase in the incidence of any solid cancer in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis. For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, TNF inhibitor therapy was not associated with an increased incidence of any of the 10 most common cancers and non-melanoma skin cancer, compared with methotrexate failure.

"In conclusion, we did not observe an increased incidence of cancer early in the course of treatment among patients treated with TNF-inhibitors in this large cohort study across multiple patient populations," the authors write "The outcomes of long-term therapy will require further study in these or other cohorts."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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