TNF inhibitors not linked with cancer recurrence: study

Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors do not appear to increase cancer-recurrence rates in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to a Swedish study.

TNF has both tumour-promoting and cancer-protective effects, so TNF inhibitors could conceivably affect the risk for cancer recurrence. Few studies, however, have reported the risk for cancer relapse or second primary tumours in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who received TNF inhibitor treatment.

Dr Pauline Raaschou from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues used data from linked Swedish registries to compare cancer recurrences in RA patients who had started TNF inhibitor treatment after their cancer diagnosis versus those who remained biologics-naive.

The first, most inclusive comparison matched 467 patients who started TNF inhibitor treatment between 2001 and 2015 after a cancer diagnosis an average of eight years earlier and 2164 biologics-naïve patients