Study Eases Arthritis Drug Cancer Fears
Patients Taking TNF Inhibitors Had No Increase in Cancer Risk Over 6 Years
TNF Blockers and Skin Cancer
Two recent studies raised new fears that TNF-blocking drugs increase the
risk for nonmelanoma skin cancers.
In one, researchers reported that patients taking TNF inhibitors had a 34%
increased risk for nonmelanoma skin cancers, compared with patients taking
other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
In another, the TNF-blocking drugs appeared to increase the risk for
developing nonmelanoma cancers by about 70%, compared to treatment with a
Both were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of
Rheumatology in mid-October, where experts warned patients on the drugs to
check their bodies regularly for abnormal growths that can signal skin
Given concerns about the potential risk for both infection and cancer in
patients who take TNF-blocking drugs, Matteson says it is important that
prescribing physicians use them only in patients who have few other
He tells WebMD "the jury is still out" on whether they are being over
"The majority of patients with rheumatoid arthritis do just as well with
non-biologic treatments," he says.