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Research Commentary
Evidence-Based Dermatology
October 2013

Risk of Malignant Disease and Biologic Response Modifiers: Fact, Fiction, and Future Concerns

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Dermatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(10):1221-1223. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5738

Biologic therapies represent an increasingly common treatment modality for the management of systemic immune-mediated and inflammatory disease processes. Data from European and US registries reported the use of biologic response modifiers (BRMs) in 25% to 56% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).1 Recently, concern has been raised regarding the possible increased risk of malignant disease associated with the use of BRMs, particularly lymphomas and nonmelanoma skin cancers given their mechanisms of action. As noted by Lopez-Olivo et al, multiple observational studies and meta-analyses focused on single BRMs or a subset of treatments have provided limited insights into this question owing to inconsistent findings, leaving the need for further analysis.