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09-06-2011 | Psoriasis | Article

Previous psoriasis worsens cancer prognosis


Free abstract

MedWire News: Patients with cancer have a worse prognosis - indicated by a greater cancer-specific and overall mortality excess - if they have previously had psoriasis, compared with those who have not had the skin condition, show Swedish study results.

The most common cancers to develop among patients in the study with previous psoriasis were prostate, breast, lung, skin, and colon, and these individuals had shorter survival durations than their counterparts who had never had psoriasis.

Age at diagnosis, and being treated for alcohol-related diseases also worsened the prognosis for cancer patients with previous psoriasis.

"The current findings provide more information for patients with psoriasis and clinicians to be aware of the risk assessment," say study author Xiaochen Shu from Lund University in Malmo, and colleagues.

Reporting in the British Journal of Dermatology, the group compared cancer-specific and overall mortality rates in a cohort of 1746 previously psoriatic cancer patients and 1,011,757 cancer patients without psoriasis from the 1964-2006 Swedish population-based registers.

For all cancers, there was a significant survival disparity between those with previous psoriasis and those without, with a 1.27- and 1.26- fold increased risk among the former group for overall and cancer-specific mortality, respectively, during the study period.

The age at cancer diagnosis had an effect on survival, with a worse prognosis among cancer patients diagnosed at the age of 65 years or under compared with those who received their diagnosis above 65 years (hazard ratio [HR] =1.39 vs 1.18).

In addition, previously psoriatic cancer patients who had been hospitalized for alcohol-related diseases in the past had a 1.74-times higher risk for reduced survival during the study period, compared with cancer patients without psoriasis.

Previous hospitalizations for their psoriasis also worsened survival rates for psoriatic cancer patients, with 2- to 4-fold risk increases in cancer mortality excess for those with multiple hospitalizations.

"The significant mortality excess for many cancer sites confirmed out previous hypothesis that psoriasis as an immune-mediated disease worsened the prognosis of subsequent cancers," say Shu and co-authors.

"The mechanisms underlying this disparity warrant further studies," they conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sarah Guy

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