Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study suggests link between scleroderma, cancer in certain patients

09.07.2010
Patients with a certain type of scleroderma may get cancer and scleroderma simultaneously, Johns Hopkins researchers have found, suggesting that in some diseases, autoimmunity and cancer may be linked.

These findings could lead researchers closer to discovering what causes scleroderma, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes scar tissue to develop in the skin and in major organ systems, and to pinning down why some with scleroderma appear to be at increased risk of cancer. The insights add to the growing body of evidence linking some autoimmune disorders with cancer.

“Our research adds more to the discussion about whether cancer and autoimmune diseases are related and whether cancer may be a trigger for scleroderma,” says Ami A. Shah, M.D., M.H.S., an assistant professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study’s lead author.

The small study, which appears online in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, looked at blood and tumor samples from 23 patients with both scleroderma and cancer who were treated at the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center. Ten percent of the patients treated at the scleroderma center have cancer as well as the autoimmune disease.

The researchers looked for specific immune markers in each patient, determining which type of antibodies the patients made. Those with antibodies called anti-RNA polymerase I/III had the most closely related onset of cancer and scleroderma, they found. Those patients got both diseases within two years of one another. Similar results were also found in another subset of patients — those who tested positive for none of the known autoimmune antibodies. Researchers suspect there are immune markers in their blood that have yet to be discovered.

The reasons for the apparent link between scleroderma and cancer are not understood, Shah says. And it is unknown whether cancer could be causing scleroderma or if scleroderma could be causing cancer.

Most often, Shah says, the patients developed cancer first and then scleroderma soon after. She says one theory, as yet unproven, is that as the body generates an immune response to fight a tumor, the immune response could trigger the development of scleroderma. It is also possible, she says, that the immune response could successfully defeat a developing tumor but still result in scleroderma.

Another possibility could be that organ damage from scleroderma could predispose patients to cancer. Or it could be that the use of immune-suppressing drugs to treat scleroderma could lead to cancer.

She says that some reports in the medical literature have shown that in cases of concurrent cancer and scleroderma, treating the cancer halted the progression of the autoimmune disorder.

Several other autoimmune disorders also appear to have potential links to cancer, Shah says. This research could have implications for those diseases as well.

Many questions remain and more research is needed, says Livia Casciola-Rosen, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins’ medical school and one of the study’s principal investigators. “Are particular antibodies in scleroderma associated with increased risk of cancer? Maybe we need to look,” she says. “And if you develop both at the same time, does treatment of one affect the outcome of the other?

“This research,” she says, “is really just the beginning.”

The study was supported in part by funding from the Scleroderma Research Foundation, the Stabler Foundation, the Karen Brown Scleroderma Foundation, the American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Other Johns Hopkins researchers contributing to the study include Antony Rosen, M.D.; Laura Hummers, M.D.; and Fredrick Wigley, M.D.

For more information:
http://www.hopkinsscleroderma.org/
http://www.hopkinsscleroderma.org/center/who-are-we/
Media Contact: Stephanie Desmon
410-955-8665; sdesmon1@jhmi.edu

Stephanie Desmon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>