Are patients with RA at increased risk of malignancy?

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SUMMARYRecently, Smitten and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of the risk of cancer in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with that in the general population. The authors found no important differences in the overall risk of cancer in patients with RA. However, the risk of lymphoma and lung cancer seemed to be increased, whereas colorectal cancer and breast cancer risk was decreased. With recent changes in the therapeutic approach to RA, concern has been raised about the role of anti-tumor necrosis factor therapies in inducing or increasing the risk of lymphoma and other malignancies. However, it is important to consider the baseline risk of these malignancies in patients with RA when placing the risk of new therapies into context.

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