The results of a new 65-year follow-up study of nearly 7,000 Norwegian patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) suggest that these patients may have a higher risk of developing cancer than the general population, especially cancers of the respiratory system, urinary organs and the central nervous system.
Presented in the 5th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Oslo, Norway, the study also indicates an increased risk of developing hematological cancers in siblings without MS of patients with MS, compared to patients with MS and the general population.
This long-term analysis was based on the records of 6,883 MS patients born between 1930 and 1979 in Norway. The analysis also included data on 8,918 siblings without MS and 37,919 individuals without MS.
“This study is the first to compare the risk of cancer in unaffected siblings of patients with MS. The risk assessment between these two groups is extremely important because they share the same genetics and environmental conditions, “says Dr. Nina Grytten, the study's principal investigator. University Hospital of Haukeland, Bergen, who has presented the results in the EAN congress.
“Previous clinical studies on cancer risk in patients with MS in several countries have shown inconsistent results, so more research is needed to help improve our understanding in this area,” says Dr. Grytten. This research describes the need for greater awareness of cancer risk among patients with MS, which should lead to an early diagnosis of cancer and a more effective therapy to improve outcomes and survival. “
In addition, they consider more research is needed to identify the possible connections between hematologic cancer and multiple sclerosis and new ways in which we could handle these conditions, “he adds.
According to Dr. Grytten, the results of the research could suggest that MS and hematologic cancer may share a common etiology, which may be important for the future treatment of MS and the prevention of both diseases.