Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which the over-production of epidermal (skin) cells build up on the surface of the skin, forming itchy, dry red patches that often causes significant discomfort. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. And 125 million individuals worldwide have this condition.Previous studies have suggested an association between psoriasis and certain conditions such as cardiovascular disease. And now, a new study conducted by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston suggests an association between psoriasis and certain malignancies.
Researchers led by Dr. Alexa Kimball analyzed data from 80 million individuals. Those who had received a psoriasis diagnosis as of December 2006 were included in the psoriasis cohort. Researchers followed patients until they were diagnosed with a malignancy or for up to five years. They suggest that psoriasis was associated with a higher rate of malignancies a 5-year malignancy rate of about 116 cases per 10,000 person-years - as compared to the general population a 5-year malignancy rate of 96 cases per 10,000 person-years independent of the type of therapy used to treat the psoriasis. This was true for all types of malignancies (except the common but non-dangerous skin cancers other than melanoma were not tabulated).
Researchers also analyzed different types of treatments used on psoriasis patients, looking at whether or not associations between malignancies and treatment options varied. After analyzing about 23,000 psoriasis patients undergoing treatment for psoriasis during this same time period, no differences were seen between treatment groups, except for lymphoma.
ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross had this to say: This study is a prime example of data-dredging. There are so many different types of cancer being analyzed here and millions of study subjects so obviously the researchers were able to use the numbers to find some sort of association between malignancies and psoriasis. However, even just taking a look at their numbers, a 19 percent difference between the psoriasis cohort and the general population is really nothing to be concerned about.