Arthritis drugs and Lymphoma

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Mike Bartolatz
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Arthritis drugs and Lymphoma

Post by Mike Bartolatz » Sat Jul 31, 2004 2:44 pm

Arthritis Drug Link to Lymphoma Unclear
SOURCE: Arthritis & Rheumatism, June 2004. ... ID=5660609

NEW YORK - Certain rheumatoid arthritis drugs have been linked to an
increased risk of lymphoma, a type of lymph node cancer. However, new
research suggests that these drugs do not cause lymphoma but that they
are simply more likely to be given to patients destined to develop the

Most studies have shown an increased risk of lymphoma in patients with
rheumatoid arthritis, the authors point out, and some studies have
suggested that treatment with methotrexate or other drugs may also play
a role.

To investigate, Drs. Frederick Wolfe and Kaleb Michaud, from the
National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases in Wichita, Kansas, compared
lymphoma rates in more than 18,000 rheumatoid arthritis patients with
the rates seen in healthy subjects of similar age and sex.

The researchers' findings appear in the medical journal Arthritis &

Arthritis patients were nearly twice as likely to have lymphoma as
healthy subjects, the authors report. Moreover, among arthritis
patients, those treated with Remicade (infliximab) or Enbrel
(etanercept), the so-called anti-TNF therapies, were at particularly
high risk for lymphoma.

As it turned out, however, patients treated with the anti-TNF drugs also
had more severe arthritis than other patients. Therefore, it's possible
that their severe disease and not the anti-TNF drug was what increased
the risk of lymphoma.

The researchers also found no evidence that treatment with methotrexate
increased the risk of lymphoma.

"It appears that neither clinical trial data nor data from the current
study are sufficient to establish" that rheumatoid arthritis drugs cause
lymphoma, the authors conclude.
Mike Bartolatz

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