Psoriasis may increase the risk for developing cancer, particularly, nonmelanoma skin cancer, lymphoma, and lung cancer, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.1

Various factors related to psoriasis, including its chronic inflammatory nature, the use of immunosuppressive and ultraviolet therapies, the increased prevalence of smoking and obesity, are a special cause for concern in terms of cancer risk. Therefore, researchers sought to compare the overall risk of cancer in patients with psoriasis compared with those without psoriasis and identify specific cancers of interest.

For the population-based cohort study, researchers analyzed data from 198 366 patients with psoriasis and 937 716 without psoriasis included in The Health Improvement Network, a primary care medical records database in the United Kingdom.

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Results showed that there was a small increased risk for any incident of cancer excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer among patients with psoriasis (HR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02 – 1.09). In terms of specific cancers, nonmelanoma skin cancer (HR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.07 – 1.16), incident lymphoma (HR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.18 – 1.51), and lung cancer (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.03 – 1.27) were associated with having psoriasis.

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Researchers found that cancer risk was slightly higher for patients who were classified as having moderate-to-severe psoriasis as opposed to mild disease.

There was no significant association between psoriasis and cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, or leukemia.


  1. Fuxench ZC, Shin DB, Beatty AO, Gelfand JM. The risk of cancer in patients with psoriasis: a population-based cohort study in the Health Improvement Network [published online ahead of print December 16, 2015]. JAMA Oncol. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4847.