Thiopurines Boost Lymphoma Risk Three-Fold, But Wait

According to a study reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, the continuous use of thiopurines in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) boosts the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma three-fold.

However, while that may sound dramatic, the absolute risk for lymphoma remains low enough that experts don't believe these results should warrant patients discontinuing medication, especially if they derive a lot of benefit from it.

This retrospective cohort study included data from 36,826 patients with UC treated in the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in a 10-year span. Patients were divvied into one of three groups:

  1. Continuous users of thiopurines (2 percent)
  2. Discontinuous users of thiopurines (11 percent)
  3. Nonusers of thiopurines (87 percent)

After a median follow-up of six years, investigators determined the incidence rate of lymphoma to be 2.8 cases per 1,000 patient-years in those using thiopurines continuously. That rate is compared to 0.7 and 0.8 per 1,000 patient-years for the other two groups respectively. These rates worked out to a hazard ratio of 3.2 for continuous users compared to the other groups.

These data are fairly consistent with the existing data on the use of thiopurines and lymphoma. The findings do not add anything new to the discussion, but they do add weight to the ongoing notion that immunosuppressive drugs can increase one's risk of developing lymphoma.

More Articles

More Articles

In non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, you have your B-cell lymphomas and you have your T-cell lymphomas.

Why B...

MALT lymphoma is a rare B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that typically runs an indolent or slow-growing clinical...

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a relatively rare B-cell subtype of non-Hodgkin'...

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is just one of 50-60 known B-cell subtypes of...

Lymphomatous meningitis [LM], also known as leukemic meningitis, is an extremely serious peripheral cancer that attacks the tissue that covers the...

Since so many chemotherapy agents can affect a patient’s sex drive and fertility, thinking about these issues prior...

Secondary cancers are cancers that develop as a result of chemotherapy and/or...

One of the greatest fears of lymphoma survivors is that they’ll relapse and have to undergo treatment again. This fear is normal but awful to...

Over the years, various classification systems have been used to differentiate lymphoma types including the Rappaport Classification (used until...

If you are new to this website or are looking for guidance to a specific page, here is a list of links to articles that can help you. The "Main...

Often the one who makes the first diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma / Disease is the person affected. There are some...

Lymphedema is abnormal swelling due to the presence of excess lymphatic fluid within the tissues. This swelling occurs when the...

There are two types of cancer: benign and malignant. Benign cancers are the kind that don't spread and don't threaten one's life. Malignant...

Advances in the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma have resulted in remarkable survival rates, even for...