Managing cancer risk in patients with systemic lupus erythematous

Alexandra Ladouceur, Sasha Bernatsky*, Rosalind Ramsey-Goldman, Ann E. Clarke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Numerous studies have clearly demonstrated that there is an altered cancer risk profile in patients with systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) versus the general population. This includes a higher risk of certain cancers (e.g. hematologic, lung) and a decreased risk of others (e.g. breast cancer). Several determinants could be behind this altered risk; these include immunosuppressant drugs, viral exposures, genetic factors, and other variables. Area covered: We review what is known regarding specific risk profiles and risk factors for some key cancers in SLE, including hematologic malignancies and lung cancers. In light of this, we examine current guidelines and practices regarding cancer screening, and propose ways that patients and physicians might help manage cancer risk in SLE. Expert commentary: Despite significant progress over the past decade, not many risk factors have been precisely identified. A better understanding of the elements that drive malignancy risk in systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases may permit the further development of guidelines (regarding. cancer screening) for SLE patients. Abbreviations: AbTG: Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies; AbTPO: Anti-peroxydase antibodies; AML: Acute myeloid leukemia; APRIL: A proliferating-inducing ligand; BAFF: B-cell activating factor; CAPA: Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance; CI: Confidence interval; CIN: Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; CT: Computed tomography; DLBCL: Diffuse large B cell lymphoma; dsDNA: Double-stranded DNA; EBV: Epstein-Barr virus; EULAR European League Against Rheumatism; IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease; HBV: Hepatitis B virus; HCV: Hepatitis C virus; HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus; HR: Hazard ratio; HSIL: High-grade cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions; HSV: Herpes simplex virus; HL: Hodgkin lymphoma; HPV: Human papillomavirus; MALT: Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue; MDS: Myelodysplastic syndrome; MESNA: 2-mercaptoethane sodium sulfonate; NHL: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; OR: Odds ratio; Pap: Papanicolaou; RA: Rheumatoid arthritis; SLE: Systemic Lupus erythematous; SLICC: Systemic International Collaborating Clinics; SNPs: Single-nucleotide polymorphisms; SOGC: Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-802
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 3 2018


  • Systemic lupus erythematous
  • cancer
  • malignancy
  • rheumatic disease
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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