Treatment reduces cancer risk in rheumatism
Previously, it was suspected that immunosuppressive drug therapies against RA might increase the risk of cancerous lymphoma. However, Swedish research has shown that medicines for RA can actually reduce cancer risk.
Many anti-rheumatoid arthritis drugs work by suppressing the body's immune system, as it is the immune system that attacks the joints of RA. At the same time, it has long been known that RA increases the risk of cancerous lymphoma (cancer of the body's lymphatic system). Because the immune system is important in the body's defense against tumors, the researchers wanted to investigate whether the treatment also increases the risk of cancer.
Johan Askling, rheumatologist and researcher at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, together with his research group, has concluded this is not true. On the contrary, the risk is reduced in RA patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy
- It is very gratifying that what you previously suspected was a treatment risk turned out to be a treatment gain, says Johan Askling in a news article on the Cancer Foundation's website.