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AACR 2021: Do Immune-Mediated Diseases Influence Risk of Skin Cancer?

By: Lauren Harrison, MS
Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Patients with immune-related diseases may be at increased risk of developing skin malignancy, but the risk seems to be disease-dependent. For instance, male patients with inflammatory bowel disease may be at increased risk of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. In contrast, those with multiple sclerosis may be at increased risk of basal cell carcinoma alone. Eunyoung Cho, ScD, MS, of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, presented these data on behalf of her colleagues during the virtual edition of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2021 (Abstract 844).

Researchers utilized data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (NPFS). The NHS cohort comprised 83,824 participants who were followed over 26 years, whereas the HPFS data set encompassed 48,277 participants, also followed over a 26-year period. The team used Cox proportional hazard models to identify any association between skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma) and a multitude of immune-related diseases (eg, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and vitiligo).

In total, there were 558 cases of melanoma, 11,696 cases of squamous cell carcinoma, and 17,145 cases of basal cell carcinoma in the NHS cohort, plus 589, 1,388, and 9,962 cases of melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma in the NPFS cohort. When the investigators looked at individual diseases, there was a 69% increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 38% increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma among male patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, male patients with multiple sclerosis appeared to be at increased risk of basal cell carcinoma (relative risk = 1.78). In comparison, female patients with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism had lower chances of developing basal cell carcinoma (relative risks = 0.88 and 0.81, respectively).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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