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CMAJ. 2012 Oct 16;184(15):E804-9. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.120518. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Risk of cancer among patients with herpes zoster infection: a population-based study.

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  • 1Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Whether the risk of cancer is increased among patients with herpes zoster is unclear. We investigated the risk of cancer among patients with herpes zoster using a nationwide health registry in Taiwan.

METHODS:

We identified 35 871 patients with newly diagnosed herpes zoster during 2000-2008 from the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. We analyzed the standardized incidence ratios for various types of cancer.

RESULTS:

Among patients with herpes zoster, 895 cases of cancer were reported. Patients with herpes zoster were not at increased risk of cancer (standardized incidence ratio 0.99, 95% confidence interval 0.93-1.06). Among the subgroups stratified by sex, age and years of follow-up, there was also no increased risk of overall cancer.

INTERPRETATION:

Herpes zoster is not associated with increased risk of cancer in the general population. These findings do not support extensive investigations for occult cancer or enhanced surveillance for cancer in patients with herpes zoster.

PMID:
22988158
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3478374
Free PMC Article
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