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Systemic Sclerosis Raises Risk of Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Melanoma

Key clinical point: Patients in Australia with systemic sclerosis had significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer and melanoma within the first 5 years of diagnosis, and have a higher risk of lung cancer independent of disease onset.

Major finding: The incidence of cancer was 1.3% per year, and the overall prevalence for the cohort was 14.2%, which was higher than the general Australian population (standardized incidence ratio, 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.84-2.49). Breast cancer, melanoma, hematologic cancer, and lung cancer were the most common types of cancers found in the cohort, with early breast cancer (SIR, 3.07; 95% CI, 1.47-5.64), lung cancer (SIR, 3.07; 95% CI, 1.21-3.44), and early melanoma (SIR, 3.40; 95% CI, 1.10-7.93) having a higher incidence than the general population.

Study details: A population-linked cohort study of 1,727 Australian patients with systemic sclerosis who developed cancer between January 2008 and December 2015.

Disclosures: This study was funded in part by Scleroderma Australia, Arthritis Australia, Actelion Australia, Bayer, CSL Biotherapies, GlaxoSmithKline Australia, and Pfizer. Dr. Morrisroe reported receiving support from Arthritis Australia and Royal Australasian College of Physicians Research Establishment Fellowships. Another author reported receiving a fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. The other authors reported no relevant conflicts of interest.


Morrisroe K et al. Arthritis Care Res. 2019 Sep 20. doi: 10.1002/acr.24076