The story appears on

Page A11

October 20, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Thiopurine drugs can raise risk of cancer

SOME treatments for inflammatory bowel disease increase the risk of infection-related cancers, French scientists said yesterday, but the benefits of the drugs still outweigh the risks.

Thiopurine drugs - immunosuppressive medicines that inhibit the body's immune system - are regularly used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, the researchers said, but can increase the risk of cancers linked to viral infections.

Laurent Beaugerie and colleagues at the Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris looked at more than 19,000 patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Around 30 percent of the patients were taking thiopurines, 14 percent had stopped taking them and 56 percent had never taken them.

Following up after almost 3 years, the researchers found 23 new cases of cancers - one of Hodgkin's lymphoma and 22 of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Statistical analysis showed that patients receiving thiopurines - like azathioprine produced by several generic drugmakers and by GlaxoSmithKline as Imuran - had a more than five-fold increased risk of lymphoma compared with those who had never received the drugs, the researchers said in a study published in The Lancet journal.

"The absolute cumulative risk ... in young patients receiving a 10-year course of thiopurines remains low - (less than 1 percent) - and does not undermine the positive risk-benefit ratio of these drugs," researchers wrote.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend