Date:20/11/2003 URL:

Psoriasis may increase risk of certain cancers

PATIENTS WITH the skin disease psoriasis may be at an increased risk of developing lymphoma, according to an article in The Archives of Dermatology, one of the Journal of American Medical Association/Archives journals.

Psoriasis is a common skin disease characterized by patches of thickened, red and scaly skin, usually on the torso or arms, and can be painful and disfiguring in some cases.

Psoriasis affects about 1-2 per cent of the population. Previous research has shown that people with psoriasis may be at an increased risk for developing lymphoma - a group of cancers affecting the lymph tissues found mainly in the lymph nodes and spleen.

Joel M. Gelfand, of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated whether the rate of lymphoma in patients with a history of psoriasis is different from the rate of lymphoma in patients without psoriasis.

After reviewing the medical records of patients with psoriasis who had lymphoma, the researchers found that all patients with psoriasis who developed systemic lymphoma were treated with medications consistent with psoriasis and had outcomes consistent with the diagnosis of lymphoma.

"Additional studies are necessary to determine if the increased rate of the disease lymphoma is related to psoriasis severity, psoriasis treatment, or an interaction between these risk factors," says American researcher Joel.

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