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Are Biologic Therapies Safe for Patients With Cancer?

Findings from a chart review showed patients with psoriasis and concurrent malignancy may be safely treated with biologic therapies and apremilast (Otezla) without the risk of recurrence or progression of cancer.

Although many studies have assessed the risk of developing malignancy during treatment, few have assessed the use of biologic therapy among patients with a history of established malignancy, the researchers said. They conducted a retrospective chart review of 690 patients with psoriasis who attended their clinic between January 1, 2012, and May 31, 2018. Sixteen patients with a history of malignancy, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer, who were treated with biologics or apremilast were identified.
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The researchers found that the average time from cancer diagnosis to initiation of biologics or apremilast was 4.7 years, with 9 patients (56%) initiating treatment within 5 years. Three patients (19%) received concurrent cancer therapy during biologic treatment, the researchers observed.

Out of 16 patients, none experienced clinical or radiographic recurrence or progression of their cancer during treatment, and most patients experienced improvements in their psoriasis.

“The data reviewed here show successful treatment on biologics despite concurrent malignancy, though confirmatory research is needed,” the researchers concluded.

Reference

Kahn JS, Casseres RG, Her MJ, Dumont N, Gottlieb AB, Rosmarin D. Treatment of psoriasis with biologics and apremilast in patients with a history of malignancy: A retrospective chart review. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(4):387-390.

 

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