Multiple sclerosis associated with lower cancer risk

March 30, 2009

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A new study shows that people with multiple sclerosis may be at a lower risk for cancer overall, but at a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as brain tumors and bladder cancer. The study is published in the March 31, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers looked at the medical records of 20,000 people with multiple sclerosis and 204,000 people without the diagnosis. After 35 years, they found that the people with MS had a decreased overall risk of cancer by 10 percent compared to people who did not have the disease. The result was more pronounced in women. However, for people with MS the risk for certain cancers, such as brain tumors and bladder and other urinary organ cancers, increased by up to 44 percent compared to people without MS.

Scientists also evaluated the parents of people with MS to determine whether there was a possible genetic link. They found that there was no overall increased or decreased risk of cancer among either mothers or fathers of those with MS, compared to parents of people without MS.

"We speculate that the lower risk for cancer among people with MS could be a result of lifestyle changes or treatment following diagnosis," said study author Shahram Bahmanyar, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. "The increase in brain tumor diagnoses may be due to brain inflammation, but this finding may not reflect a real increase in cancer risk, as there is some evidence that more frequent neurological investigations in these patients mean that brain tumors are more likely to be found sooner. There may also be reasons related to the disease that could increase the risk for urinary organ cancers, resulting from chronic irritation to those organs as a result of MS. However, individual risk of developing urinary organ cancer is modest, as less than 0.2 percent of people with MS developed this cancer for every 10 years of follow-up."

Bahmanyar also noted that people with MS have on average a lower body mass index (BMI) than the general population, and BMI is a risk factor for several types of cancer, so the lower body weight may explain some of the reduction in cancer risk. It is also possible that some reduction in cancer risk results from the way the body responds to MS.
-end-
The study was supported by the Bibbi and Nils Jensens Foundation, the Montel Williams Foundation, the European Union's Sixth Framework Program NeuroproMiSe and the Swedish Association for Persons with Neurological Disabilities.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, restless legs syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, narcolepsy, and stroke.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.

American Academy of Neurology

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.