Rheumatoid arthritis drugs don’t affect cancer risk, researchers find

10/27/2008

CHICAGO Spanish researchers have found that drugs for rheumatoid arthritis called TNF blockers don’t appear to increase the risk of cancer, the researchers announced Saturday.

The drugs block a protein called the tumor necrosis factor, which is part of the immune system and is linked to arthritic inflammation. Some studies have shown that they increase the risk of cancer because they suppress the immune system, but the researchers did not find a statistical difference between the two groups of patients studied.

The research included one group of 4,500 people who took TNF blockers between 2001 and 2007, and another that included data from between 1999 and 2005 from almost 800 people who did not take the drugs.

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