Biologics don’t increase cancer risk in kids with JIA

Thursday, 17 Nov 2016

A study presented at this week’s ACR/ARHP annual congress in Washington addresses “lingering doubts” over the safety of biologics in children with JIA.

The trial involved 27,621 children with JIA who were categorised into three groups: those who had used methotrexate, a TNF inhibitor, or ‘other’ medications.

The researchers identified 20 incident malignancies with a corresponding standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of 2.4 [1.5-3.7].

Among children who did not receive treatment with methotrexate, TNFi or other medications, the SIR was the same (2.4 [1.1-4.5]).

The investigators also identified seven incident malignancies in 15,220 person-years of observation following any use of TNFi ( SIR  2.9 [1.2-6.0]).

“These findings suggest that TNFi are not associated with a significantly increased risk of malignancy in children with JIA,” said lead author Dr. Timothy Beukelman, MD, MSCE, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Similar results have been reported in several large studies of adults with rheumatoid arthritis. Because childhood malignancy is very rare, it is difficult to attain the final, definitive answer, but I believe that the initial worries about TNFi and malignancy have been sufficiently diminished,” he said. 

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