What are the adverse risks of biologics in the treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019
  • Author: David D Sherry, MD; Chief Editor: Lawrence K Jung, MD  more...
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Answer

Concern has been raised that the use of biologics may increase cancer risk among patients with JIA; however, lack of data on the baseline risk of cancer in this population has made it difficult to determine whether the concern is justified. A review of a large cohort of patients from the Swedish registry found an increased risk of cancer in patients who had not been on biologic therapies and had been diagnosed with JIA in the last 20 years. However, this risk was not found if the analysis was extended to patients diagnosed between 1969 and 1987. [17, 18]

The results of this study were not statistically significant. Nevertheless, they may have implications for interpretation of cancer signals in patients with JIA, particularly those who are on ongoing therapy with biologic agents, such as TNF-alpha inhibitors.


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