Cancer and MS
Assessment of cancer risk with β-interferon treatment for multiple sclerosis.
OBJECTIVE: The risk of cancer after exposure to the β-interferons (IFNβs) for multiple sclerosis (MS) has not been established. We assessed whether IFNβ treatment for MS is associated with cancer risk or the risk of specific cancers in a population-based observational study.
METHODS:The British Columbia MS database was linked to the provincial Cancer Registry, Vital Statistics death files and Health Registration files. Using a nested case-control design, MS cancer cases were matched with up to 20 randomly selected MS controls at the date of cancer diagnosis by sex, age (±5 years) and study entry year using incidence density sampling. Associations between treatment exposure and overall or specific (breast, colorectal, lung and prostate) cancers were estimated, adjusted for MS disease duration and age. Tumour size at cancer diagnosis was compared between treated and untreated patients.
RESULTS: The cohort included 5146 relapsing-onset MS patients and 48 705 person-years of follow-up, during which 227 cancers were diagnosed. Exposure to IFNβ was not significantly different for cases and controls (OR 1.28; 95% CI 0.87 to 1.88). There was a non-significant trend towards an increased risk of IFNβ exposure in the breast cancer cases (OR 1.77; 95% CI 0.92 to 3.42), but no evidence of a dose-response effect. Tumour size was similar between IFNβ treated and untreated cases.
CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence of an increased cancer risk with exposure to IFNβ over a 12-year observation period. However, the trend towards an association between IFNβ and breast cancer should be investigated further.
Source: J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Mar. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-307238. (19/03/14)
The study reported in the European Journal of Neurology claims that people suffering from multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting nerves in brain and spinal cord, have a higher risk of developing cancer, especially breast cancer.
Studies conducted earlier claimed that people with autoimmune disease may suffer from a greater risk of developing cancer but most of the studies detected no association between multiple sclerosis (MS) and cancer. Since this latest finding contradicts the previous findings, researchers say that additional research is required to determine whether or not there is a link between the disease and cancer.
For the study, researchers evaluated the data retrieved from the National Health Insurance System of Taiwan. They assessed the information on 1292 people who were diagnosed with MS between 1997 and 2010. They further matched each MS patient with four healthy people who were not diagnosed with the condition.
MS that is not considered as a fatal disease is a chronic and unpredictable disease. It normally affects people between the ages of 20 and 50. This autoimmune disease causes extreme fatigue, blindness, paralysis, poor coordination and more. There are more than 2.5 million people around the world living with MS.
This investigation was led by Li-Min Sun, MD, of the Zuoying Branch of Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
"Our study was a nationwide population-based cohort study, and it revealed unexpected findings," said Dr. Sun
The researchers noticed that those with MS suffered 85 percent higher risk of developing cancer when compared to the control group. There was a twofold higher risk of developing breast cancer when compared to the control group.
This study suggests that those with MS should be monitored closely in order to ensure the early detection of cancer.
Unsure of why the results of this study differs from the previous studies, Dr. Sun notes says, "The underlying genetic and environmental factors in Taiwan, which differ from those of western countries, might play an undetermined role. Additional large-scale studies will help improve our understanding."
Source: Science World Report © 2014 ScienceWorldReport.com (16/01/14)