February 2007 - A study by UK researchers led by Dr Alan Silman, an epidemiologist with the University of Manchester and
published in Arthritis & Rheumatism has investigated the incidence of cancer in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and whether
this is associated with a decreased survival rate. Researchers explain that patients with RA, a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease, are known to have at least twice the risk of death from disease compared to the general population. However, it has been unclear whether this vulnerability includes cancer mortality. The study found that RA may increase the risk of dying from cancer but not developing it.
The study followed 2105 patients in Norfolk with recent onset inflammatory polyarthritis (a large proportion of which evolve into RA) over a 10-year period. They identified 123 cases of cancer affecting bone, lung, breast, prostate, urinary tract, colon, brain, digestive, respiratory, and central nervous systems, blood cells and cancerous tumors. They compared these findings with rates in the general population adjusting for age and sex. Researchers found that the overall incidence of cancer was not increased in the study group. However, the risk of blood cell cancers was increased, reflecting a known association between RA and lymphoma. Significantly, the study also found a 40 per cent increase in mortality in patients who suffered both inflammatory polyarthritis (IP), or RA, and cancer.
Alan Silman commented:
"The results of this study demonstrated that 5-year cancer survival in patients with IP is substantially reduced in comparison with that in the general population, even after adjusting for differences in age, sex, and cancer site, whereas the overall cancer incidence does not seem to be increased."
A report from the American Cancer Society estimates that 2007 saw over 12 million
new cancer cases and 7.6 million cancer deaths (about 20,000 a day) worldwide. Of these, 5.4 million cases and 2.9
million deaths occurred in economically developed countries, compared to 6.7 million cases and 4.7 million deaths in
Researchers have identified a number of genes involved in the mechanism that prevents uncontrolled cell division and found that
aberrations are linked to certain types of cancer as well as to the relative aggressiveness of the disease.
New developments in breast cancer imaging, timing of chemotherapy, and vaccine research
may offer innovative non-surgical interventions resulting in significant changes to current screening and treatment
practice and improvements in patient care.
Women with breast cancer who are obese, less educated or have lower household
incomes may be more likely to receive reduced doses of chemotherapy thereby jeopardizing their survival.
New research suggests that significant differences in cancer rates between northern and southern
Europeans may be explained by the anti-cancer effects of olive oil in the diet.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy administered concurrently after
lumpectomy helps prevent local reoccurrence of breast cancer.
A joint initiative between computer scientists at the University of Edinburgh and cellular biologists at the
Riken Genomic Research Centre in Japan may result in improved drug treatments for breast cancer sufferers that
will also minimize side effects.
A new study concludes that most patients who
undergo gastric cancer staging by lymph node sampling have inadequate assessments that