Cancer Risk Found to Be Higher in Asthma Patients

However, inhaled steroids may offer protective effect

Young man using medicine dry powder inhaler for treatment asthma or COPD diseases. Pharmaceutical product is used to treat lung inflammation and prevent asthma attack. Close up.
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- People with asthma are more likely to develop cancer, particularly those not using inhaled steroids, according to a study published online March 31 in Cancer Medicine.

Yi Guo, Ph.D., from the University of Florida Health Cancer Center in Gainesville, and colleagues used 2012 to 2020 electronic health records and claims data in the OneFlorida+ clinical research network to identify 90,021 adult patients with asthma and a matching cohort of 270,063 adult patients without asthma.

The researchers found that asthma patients were more likely to develop cancer versus patients without asthma (hazard ratio [HR], 1.36). Elevated cancer risk was seen in asthma patients both without (HR, 1.60) and with (HR, 1.11) inhaled steroid use. Cancer risk was elevated for nine of 13 cancers in asthma patients without inhaled steroid use but only for two of 13 cancers in asthma patients with inhaled steroid use, suggesting a protective effect of inhaled steroid use against cancer.

"Using real-world data, our study is the first to provide evidence of a positive association between asthma and cancer risk in United States patients," Guo said in a statement. "Our findings suggest that more research is needed to further examine the mechanisms through which asthma is associated with cancer, given the prevalence of asthma."

Abstract/Full Text

Lori Solomon

Lori Solomon

Medically reviewed by Mark Arredondo, M.D.

Published on April 14, 2023

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