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Br J Cancer. 2001 Jul 6;85(1):41-5.

Risk of cancer in patients with dermatomyositis or polymyositis, and follow-up implications: a Scottish population-based cohort study.

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Scottish Cancer Intelligence Unit, Information & Statistics Division, Trinity Park House, Edinburgh, EH5 3SQ.


We conducted a national, retrospective population-based cohort study of 705 patients hospitalized with a first diagnosis of dermatomyositis (DM) or polymyositis (PM) during 1982-1996 based on linkage of hospital discharge, cancer registration, and death records in Scotland. Risks of cancer were assessed by calculating standardized incidence ratios (SIR). A first malignancy was diagnosed concurrently or subsequently in 50 patients with DM (SIR 7.7, 95% CI 5.7-10.1), and 40 patients with PM (2.1, 1.5-2.9). Significantly elevated risks were observed for lung, cervix uteri, and ovarian cancer in patients with DM, and for Hodgkin's disease in patients with PM. The excess risk of cancer was highest around the time of diagnosis, and for patients with DM remained high for at least 2 years. Risks were elevated for both sexes but only significantly so for females, and were highest in patients aged 45-74 years at the time of diagnosis for DM and 15-44 for PM.

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