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

Umbilical cells help eye's neurons connect

November 24, 2015

Cells isolated from human umbilical cord tissue have been shown to produce molecules that help retinal neurons from the eyes of rats grow, connect and survive, according to Duke University researchers working with Janssen ...

Brain connections predict how well you can pay attention

November 24, 2015

During a 1959 television appearance, Jack Kerouac was asked how long it took him to write his novel On The Road. His response – three weeks – amazed the interviewer and ignited an enduring myth that the book was composed ...

No cable spaghetti in the brain

November 24, 2015

Our brain is a mysterious machine. Billions of nerve cells are connected such that they store information as efficiently as books are stored in a well-organized library. To this date, many details remain unclear, for instance ...

Neurons encoding hand shapes identified in human brain

November 23, 2015

Neural prosthetic devices, which include small electrode arrays implanted in the brain, can allow paralyzed patients to control the movement of a robotic limb, whether that limb is attached to the individual or not. In May ...

Wireless sensor enables study of traumatic brain injury

November 23, 2015

A new system that uses a wireless implant has been shown to record for the first time how brain tissue deforms when subjected to the kind of shock that causes blast-induced trauma commonly seen in combat veterans.


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.