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Pruritis Strongly Associated with Certain Cancers

J Am Acad Dermatol; ePub 2018 Sep 11; Larson, et al

Pruritus is most strongly associated with cancers of the liver, skin, and hematopoietic system, according to a recent study. Furthermore, black patients with pruritus have a higher likelihood of skin, soft tissue, and hematological malignancies than whites, while whites have higher likelihood of liver, respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and gynecological malignancies. Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of patients aged ≥18 years seen at the Johns Hopkins Health System from 2013-2017. Patients with pruritus were compared to patients without pruritus. Analyses were stratified by race. They found:

  • Patients with pruritus are more likely to have concomitant malignancy than those without pruritus (OR 5.76).
  • Most strongly associated are cancers of the liver, gallbladder and biliary tract, hematopoietic system, and skin.
  • Compared to whites, black patients more frequently have soft tissue, dermatological, and hematological malignancies, and less frequently have liver, respiratory, GI, and gynecological malignancies.

Larson VA, Tang O, Stander S, Kang S, Kwatra SG. Association between itch and cancer in 16,925 pruritus patients: Experience at a tertiary care center. [Published online ahead of print September 11, 2018]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2018.08.044.

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