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January 1990

Dermatomyositis: Disease Associations and an Evaluation of Screening Investigations for Malignancy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England (Drs Cox and Lawrence); and Department of Dermatology, Dryburn Hospital, Durham, England (Drs Langtry and Ive).

Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(1):61-65. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670250067010

• Fifty-three adult patients (19 men, 34 women) with dermatomyositis were studied. Two had dermatomyositis associated with benign disorders. Twenty-three (43%) had a malignancy; the risk of malignancy increased with age, but there was no sex difference. Seven malignancies were recurrences and 9 were diagnosed during investigation of dermatomyositis; these 16 were suspected clinically or from abnormal results of simple investigations. Extensive screening tests did not increase the number of malignancies diagnosed. In 7 patients, a diagnosis of malignancy was made more than 9 months after onset of dermatomyositis, although a relationship between malignancy and dermatomyositis was uncertain in two cases; the diagnosis of gynecological malignancy was missed in 2 patients despite appropriate investigations, 1 patient had poorly controlled dermatomyositis, and in 2 patients late diagnosis of malignancy was due to failure to reinvestigate relapse of previously stable dermatomyositis.

(Arch Dermatol. 1990;126:61-65)

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