The results of a study presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2018) examined rates of malignancy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), and found no difference between those newly treated with tocilizumab (TCZ) versus TNF inhibitors (TNFi).1
RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects a person’s joints, causing pain and disability. It can also affect internal organs. RA is more common in older people, but there is also a high prevalence in young adults, adolescents and even children, and it affects women more frequently than men.
Patients with RA have been shown to be at increased risk of developing certain malignancies, thought to be due to the immune dysregulation and/or chronic inflammation in RA. Recently, biologic DMARDs (bDMARDs) have become available and there are some concerns regarding malignancy with their use, given their target-specific inhibition of the immune system. However, there has been conflicting data regarding the influence of bDMARDs on malignancy.2
“The risk of malignancy among patients with RA has been of ongoing interest,” said Professor Robert Landewé, Chairperson of the Scientific Programme Committee, EULAR. “With more biologic treatment options available and earlier initiation of therapy, it is important
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