TNF inhibitors do not increase cancer risk in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, says new study

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TNF inhibitors, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, cancer, arthritis information, arthritis digest magazineA group of biologic drugs called tumour necrosis factor inhibitors, which are used to treat children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, are not associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting.Previous studies linked treatment with TNF inhibitors to a possible increased risk of malignancy in other conditions, but the association is uncertain. So scientists studied cancer rates of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis who were treated with TNF inhibitors compared to children who had different treatment.

A total of 27,621 children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis were identified. Altogether, there were 20 incident malignancies. Analysis of the data suggests that use of TNF inhibitors was not associated with a significantly increased risk of incident malignancy in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

“These findings suggest that TNF inhibitors are not associated with a significantly increased risk of malignancy in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis,” said Dr Timothy Beukelman, who is involved in the work. “Similar results have been reported in several large studies of adults with rheumatoid arthritis. Because childhood malignancy is very rare, it is difficult to attain the final, definitive answer, but I believe that the initial worries about TNF inhibitors and malignancy have been sufficiently diminished.”

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