Get access

Analysis of 303 Ro/SS-A antibody-positive patients: is this antibody a possible marker for malignancy?

Authors

  • B.C. Böckle,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria
    Search for more papers by this author
  • G. Stanarevic,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria
    Search for more papers by this author
  • G. Ratzinger,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria
    Search for more papers by this author
  • N.T. Sepp

    1. Department of Dermatology, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria
    2. Barbara Bommer Foundation for Clinical Immunodermatology, Department of Dermatology, Innsbruck Medical University, Haspingerstrasse 9, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Funding sources
    None.

  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

Barbara Böckle.
E-mail: barbara.boeckle@i-med.ac.at

Summary

Background  The risk of cancer in patients with autoimmune diseases has been investigated in several studies. Ro/SS-A antibodies are frequent and specific autoantibodies among patients with various autoimmune diseases.

Objectives  To assess the risk of cancer in individuals with positive Ro/SS-A antibodies and to analyse their clinical and laboratory characteristics.

Methods  Consecutive patients (= 303) with Ro/SS-A antibody positivity were collected during 11 years in our outpatient clinic for autoimmune diseases and were retrospectively analysed. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for all cancers were calculated. In addition, we identified further clinical and laboratory characteristics of Ro/SS-A antibody-positive patients indicating the development or existence of a malignancy.

Results  Fifty (16·5%) patients were diagnosed with malignancies. Ro/SS-A antibody was strongly associated with malignant diseases (SIR 2·6, 95% CI 1·9–6·1), particularly melanoma (SIR 33·3, 95% CI 5·2–188·6), T-cell lymphoma (SIR 16·7, 95% CI 2·9–128·9), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (SIR 10·6, 95% CI 1·5–78·9) and breast carcinoma (SIR 4·98, 95% CI 1·3–28·3). Logistic regression modelling revealed that Ro/SS-A antibody-positive patients aged 55 years or older, presenting with fever, anaemia and cutaneous lupus erythematosus, have a greater probability of developing cancer and are considered high-risk patients, as compared with Ro/SS-A antibody-positive patients with none of the mentioned clinical criteria.

Conclusions  In our cohort of Ro/SS-A antibody-positive patients, an overall increased risk of malignancy was noticed. Regular screening tests including imaging and laboratory values are justified in Ro/SS-A antibody-positive patients who exhibit the mentioned clinical criteria.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary