(HealthDay News) — For patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), exposure to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonists is not associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nynne Nyboe Andersen, MD, from Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues examined the risk of developing cancer for patients with IBD exposed to TNF-α antagonists. Data were included for 56,146 patients, aged 15 years and older, with IBD identified from the National Patient Registry. Of these, 8.1% were exposed to TNF-α antagonists.

RELATED: General Oncology Resource Center

Continue Reading

The researchers found that 1.8% of TNF-α antagonist-exposed patients and 6.7% of unexposed patients developed cancer during 489,433 person-years of follow-up, yielding a fully adjusted rate ratio of 1.07 (95% confidence interval, 0.85 to 1.36). TNF-α antagonist exposure was not associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer. In fully adjusted models, no site-specific cancers were in significant excess.

“In this Danish nationwide study, exposure to TNF-α antagonists among patients with IBD was not associated with an increased risk of cancer over a median follow-up of 3.7 years among those exposed,” the researchers wrote. “An increased risk associated with longer-term accumulated doses and follow-up cannot be excluded.”

Several authors disclose financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


  1. Anderson NN, Pasternak B, Basit S et al. Association Between Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Antagonists and Risk of Cancer in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease. JAMA. 2014;311(23):2406-2413.