Patients with multiple sclerosis in Taiwan may be at increased risk of developing cancer

January 14, 2014

Individuals with multiple sclerosis may have an increased risk of developing any type of cancer, with an especially high risk of developing breast cancer. That is the conclusion of a recent study published in European Journal of Neurology. Because the findings contradict earlier studies, additional research is needed to determine whether a true link exists between multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Previous research suggests that some individuals with may have an of developing cancer, but most studies have found no link between cancer and multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that involves the central nervous system.

To investigate further, Li-Min Sun, MD, of the Zuoying Branch of Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and his colleagues assessed data from the National Health Insurance System of Taiwan, including information on 1292 patients who were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis between 1997 and 2010. Each patient was matched with four participants without the condition.

"Our study was a nationwide population-based cohort study, and it revealed unexpected findings," said Dr. Sun. Specifically, the team found that individuals with multiple sclerosis were 85% more likely to develop cancer than the controls. Their risk of developing was especially high, with more than a 2-fold increased risk over controls.

The findings suggest that patients with patients may need to be monitored closely to ensure early detection of . Dr. Sun notes that it is unclear why his team's results are not consistent with most other studies. "The underlying genetic and environmental factors in Taiwan, which differ from those of western countries, might play an undetermined role. Additional large-scale studies will help improve our understanding," he said.

Explore further: Multiple sclerosis patients have lower risk of cancer: research

More information: "Increased breast cancer risk for patients with multiple sclerosis: a nationwide population-based cohort study." L.-M. Sun, C.-L. Lin, C.-J. Chung, J.-A. Liang, F.-C. Sung, and C.-H. Kao. European Journal of Neurology; Published Online: January 14, 2013 DOI: 10.1111/ene.12267

Related Stories

Arrhythmia drug may increase cancer risk

April 8, 2013

One of the most widely used medications to treat arrhythmias may increase the risk of developing cancer, especially in men and people exposed to high amounts of the drug. That is the conclusion of a new retrospective study ...

Recommended for you

Neural basis of multitasking identified

September 1, 2015

What makes someone better at switching between different tasks? Looking for the mechanisms behind cognitive flexibility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Germany's Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim ...

Deciphering the olfactory receptor code

August 31, 2015

In animals, numerous behaviors are governed by the olfactory perception of their surrounding world. Whether originating in the nose of a mammal or the antennas of an insect, perception results from the combined activation ...

New type of prion may cause, transmit neurodegeneration

August 31, 2015

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative disorder with similarities to Parkinson's disease, is caused by a newly discovered type of prion, akin to the misfolded proteins involved in incurable progressive brain diseases ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.