Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 887–894 | Cite as

Cancer risk in a cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in California

  • Arti Parikh-Patel
  • Richard H. White
  • Mark Allen
  • Rosemary Cress
Original Paper



We conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine cancer risk in a large cohort of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients in California.


The cohort consisted of individuals with SLE derived from statewide patient discharge data during the period 1991–2002. SLE patients were followed using cancer registry data to examine patterns of cancer development. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and 95% CI were calculated to compare the observed to expected numbers of cancers based on age-, race-, and sex-specific incidence rates in the California population.


The 30,478 SLE patients were observed for 157,969 person-years. A total of 1,273 cancers occurred within the observation interval. Overall cancer risk was significantly elevated (SIR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.07–1.20). SLE patients had higher risks of vagina/vulva (SIR = 3.27, 95% CI = 2.41–4.31) and liver cancers (SIR = 2.70, 95% CI = 1.54–4.24). Elevated risks of lung, kidney, and thyroid cancers and several hematopoietic malignancies were also observed. Individuals had significantly lower risks of several screenable cancers, including breast, cervix, and prostate.


These data suggest that risks of several cancer types are elevated among SLE patients. Detailed studies of endogenous and exogenous factors that drive these associations are needed.


Cancer Systemic lupus erythematosus Malignancy Autoimmune diseases Hematologic neoplasms 



This work was funded by grant 1R21CA100759–01A2 (A. Parikh-Patel) from the National Cancer Institute. The collection of cancer incidence data used in this study was supported by the California Department of Health Services as part of the statewide cancer reporting program mandated by California Health and Safety Code Section 103885; the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program under contract N01-PC-35136 awarded to the Northern California Cancer Center, contract N01-PC-35139 awarded to the University of Southern California, and contract N02-PC-15105 awarded to the Public Health Institute; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries, under agreement #U55/CCR921930-02 awarded to the Public Health Institute. The ideas and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and endorsement by the State of California, Department of Health Services, the National Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or their Contractors and Subcontractors is not intended nor should be inferred.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arti Parikh-Patel
    • 1
  • Richard H. White
    • 2
  • Mark Allen
    • 1
  • Rosemary Cress
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.California Cancer RegistryPublic Health InstituteSacramentoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of California Davis School of MedicineSacramentoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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