Associations Found Between Contact Allergy and Cancer

Breast and non-melanoma skin cancer inversely tied, but bladder cancer positively associated

WEDNESDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- An inverse association has been found between contact allergy and non-melanoma skin and breast cancer, and a positive association between contact allergy and bladder cancer, according to a study published online July 11 in BMJ Open.

Kaare Engkilde, Ph.D., from the Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte in Denmark, and colleagues investigated the association between contact allergy (a type IV allergy) and cancer. Databases were linked from a tertiary hospital register of patients with dermatitis who were patch tested for contact allergy, and the Danish Cancer Register. Only cancer subtypes with 40 or more patients registered were included in the investigation, and final associations were evaluated by logistic regression analysis.

The investigators found an inverse correlation between contact allergy and non-melanoma skin and breast cancer in both genders. Women with contact allergy also showed an inverse trend for brain cancer. Bladder cancer and contact allergy were found to be positively correlated.

"The inverse associations support the immunosurveillance hypothesis (i.e., individuals with an allergy are less likely to get cancer due to a triggered immune system), while the positive association with bladder cancer could be due to accumulations of chemical metabolites in the bladder," the authors write.

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