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Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)

Jennifer Hamilton

and Clive Kelly


This chapter addresses the links between malignancy and rheumatic disease. It begins with a summary of rheumatological conditions associated with an increased risk of malignancy, and describes and discusses specific neoplasms associated with each rheumatic disorder. The present knowledge base is summarized in tabular form, describing the relative risks of different malignancies for each relevant rheumatic disease. The diseases featured include rheumatoid arthritis, primary Sjögren’s syndrome, scleroderma, dermatomyositis and systemic lupus. The next section reviews the drugs used in present rheumatological practice known to be associated with malignancy, describing the specific established risks linked to each of the following agents: azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, ciclosporin, anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα‎) agents, and mycophenolate mofetil. The evidence base and strength of these associations are summarized. Finally we describe the musculoskeletal manifestations that arise as a consequence of underlying malignancy, considering bone pain, polymyalgia, arthropathy, and vasculitis as clinical presentations or complications of underlying neoplasia. This section also includes descriptions of less common rheumatic disorders that may also be associated with cancer, including erythema nodosum, Sweet’s syndrome, and pyoderma gangrenosum.

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