February 2012 
Volume 42  Number 2
Pages 21 - 21
  PDF Version Available!

According to two new studies, patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who take thiopurines, a widely prescribed class of immunosuppressants, have a higher risk for developing skin cancer. This increased risk was found in patients both older and younger than 50, but the risks increased with age.In the first study, researchers found that patients with IBD exposed to thiopurines had a significantly greater risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. In the second study, researchers found that patients with IBD may have an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma, and that the use of thiopurines increases their risk of squamous cell carcinoma. The researchers conclude that patients with IBD should protect themselves from UV radiation and receive lifelong dermatologic screening.Sources: Singh H, Nugent Z, Demers AA, Berstein CN. Increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancers among individuals with inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterology. 2011;141(5):1612-1620. Biroulet L, Khosrotehrani K, Carrat

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