Malignancy in adult dermatomyositis

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BackgroundDermatomyositis has been reported to be associated with malignancies in 15%-34% of patients in Western countries, but in as many as two-thirds of patients in Singapore. The aim of this study was to determine whether a diagnostic measure could be helpful in the diagnosis of a malignancy in patients with dermatomyositis.MethodsThis is a retrospective study on 38 adult patients with dermatomyositis that were seen over a 6-year period from 1989 to 1994.ResultsAll the patients presented with cutaneous features that suggest the clinical diagnosis of dermatomyositis; however, not all cases show all the key features of the disease. Of the studied patients, 86.8% were noted to have photosensitivity as a key cutaneous presentation. Thirty (78.9%) of our patients were above the age of 40 years, and 12 (31.6%) of these were found to have an associated malignancy. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma was the most commonly associated malignancy (38.4%) in our study population.ConclusionsIn our study population, otorhinolaryngologic screening is an essential investigation for the evaluation of dermatomyositis in association with malignancy.

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