From the Journals

Pruritus linked to wide variety of cancers



A wide variety of hematologic, dermatologic, and solid organ malignancies are associated with pruritus, a large, single-center, retrospective study suggests.

Blacks with pruritus had a higher odds ratio of hematologic malignancies, among others, while whites had higher likelihood of liver, gastrointestinal, respiratory and gynecologic cancers, results of the study show.

Dr. Shawn Kwatra

The results by race help address a gap in the literature, according to Shawn G. Kwatra, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and his coinvestigators.

“Little is known about the association between pruritus and malignancy among different ethnic groups,” Dr. Kwatra and his coauthors wrote in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The study shows a stronger association with more types of malignancies than has been reported previously, according to the investigators.

“The main difference is that prior studies focused on diagnosis of malignancy after the onset of pruritus, while our study includes malignancies diagnosed on or after pruritus onset,” they wrote.

Retrospective data for the study, which came from the Johns Hopkins Health System, included 16,925 patients aged 18 years or older who presented with itching or pruritus between April 4, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2017.

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