Lower Cancer Risk in MS


Catalá-López F, Suárez-Pinilla M, Suárez-Pinilla P, Valderas JM, Gómez-Beneyto M, Martinez S, Balanzá-Martínez V, Climent J, Valencia A, McGrath J, Crespo-Facorro B, Sanchez-Moreno J, Vieta E, Tabarés-Seisdedos R. Inverse and Direct Cancer Comorbidity in People with Central Nervous System Disorders: A Meta-Analysis of Cancer Incidence in 577,013 Participants of 50 Observational Studies. Psychother Psychosom. 2014 Jan 22;83(2):89-105. [Epub ahead of print]

Background: There is a lack of scientific consensus about cancer comorbidity in people with central nervous system (CNS) disorders. This study assesses the co-occurrence of cancers in patients with CNS disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autism spectrum disorders, Down’s syndrome (DS), Huntington’s disease (HD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and schizophrenia (SCZ). 

Method: Comprehensive search in PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus and ISI Web of Knowledge of the literature published before March 2013. We identified 51 relevant articles from 2,229 discrete references, 50 of which contained data suitable for quantitative synthesis (577,013 participants). Pooled effect sizes (ES) were calculated using multiple random-effects meta-analyses. Sources of heterogeneity and uncertainty were explored by means of subgroup and sensitivity analyses, respectively. 
Results: The presence of CNS disorders was associated with a reduced co-occurrence of cancer (ES = 0.92; 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.87-0.98; I2 = 94.5%). A consistently lower overall co-occurrence of cancer was detected in patients with neurodegenerative disorders (ES = 0.80; 95% CI: 0.75- 0.86; I2 = 82.8%), and in those with AD (ES = 0.32; 95% CI: 0.22-0.46; I2 = 0.0%), PD (ES = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.76-0.91; I2 = 80.0%), MS (ES = 0.91; 95% CI: 0.87-0.95; I2 = 30.3%) and HD (ES = 0.53; 95% CI: 0.42-0.67; I2 = 56.4%). Patients with DS had a higher overall co-occurrence of cancer (ES = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.08-1.96; I2 = 87.9%). No association was observed between cancer and ALS (ES = 0.97; 95% CI: 0.76-1.25; I2 = 0.0%) or SCZ (ES = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.90-1.07; I2 = 96.3%). Patients with PD, MS and SCZ showed (a) higher co-occurrence of some specific cancers (e.g. PD with melanoma, MS with brain cancers and SCZ with breast cancer), and (b) lower co-occurrence of other specific cancers (e.g. lung, prostate and colorectal cancers in PD; lung and prostate cancers in MS; and melanoma and prostate cancer in SCZ). Conclusion: Increased and decreased co-occurrence of cancer in patients with CNS disorders represents an opportunity to discover biological and non-biological connections between these complex disorder
People with MS may be have about a 10% reduced risk of cancer however this has to be tempered that some types of cancer may be statistically lower, but others such as is brain cancers may be statistically higher. There have been stories floating round the media concerning an increased breast cancer risk in Taiwan.  As ProfG said let’s wait until it is replicated before jumping toconclusions. Remember some treatments may increase this risk. 

I saw similar data on cancer risk else where recently and that will surface in the future no doubt. Cancer is a product of life. There are lots of posts on this subject matter.

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  • I'd be interested in more "MS/other disease" statistics.

    E.g. MS/Hepatitis, MS/Alzheimer, MS/Herpes…

    I think there could be some interesting stuff to be found as it was with MS/HIV.

  • was it not on MS news stories the other week that people with MS have a higher risk of cancer?!!

    "The study reported in the European Journal of Neurology claims that people suffering from multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting nerves in brain and spinal cord, have a higher risk of developing cancer, especially breast cancer.

  • I think some of that co-morbidity can be traced to Copaxone, everyone's go to low side effects/low efficacy treatment drug. A study in Israel linked the two. Another thought I had is that, at least for me, I thought twice about having children after being dxed. Having fewer or no children can also increase hormone-related cancers.

    • I got two different breast cancers at the same time Never been on any medication for MS apart from very small amount of steroids, Hence, research needed to identify us before it's too late. I asked my breast surgeon about a link with MS, he said no, but I'm not convinced.

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