Rheumatoid arthritis patients taking biologic therapy medications have a higher risk of certain cancers.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients taking biologic therapy (tumor necrosis factor antagonists) have a higher risk of certain cancers, according to research. The risk of cancer in RA patients on biologics has long been a controversial topic, so researchers decided to compare relative risk of cancer in RA patients taking biologics and patients taking non-biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (nbDMARDs).
For the study, researchers conducted a nationwide cohort study between 1997 and 2011 using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Relative risk of cancer was compared between patients taking either biologics or nbDMARDs.
The researchers compared 4,426 new users of the biologic therapy and 17,704 nbDMARD users. Incidence risk of cancer was 5.35 and 7.41 per 1,000 person-years, respectively.
The study concluded that overall there was a lower risk of cancer in patients on biologics, except for hematologic cancer, compared to those taking nbDMARDs.
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