TNF Blockers Linked to Lymphoma
Certain arthritis medications known as"TNF [tumor necrosis factor] blockers" maytreat rheumatoid arthritis, but they also mayincrease the risk for lymphoma, according tothe results of a recent study from Lund UniversityHospital in Sweden. TNF is a naturallyoccurring protein made by the immune system.Certain types of arthritis-such asrheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, andankylosing spondylitis-are associated withhaving too much TNF, which can contribute topain, swelling, and stiffness.
Researchers analyzed data from 757Swedish patients being treating with TNFblockers and compared the data with those of800 patients being treated with conventionalantirheumatic drugs. Follow-up data revealedthat the TNF-blocker group had 16 tumors, 5of which were lymphomas. In the conventionalgroup, 69 tumors were identified, including2 lymphomas. Data analysis showed that thepatients treated with TNF blockers werealmost 5 times as likely to develop lymphoma.Researchers note that the TNF blockergroup had no increased risk for canceroverall.