Testing Positive for Multiple Lupus Autoantibodies is Associated with Lower Breast Cancer Risk

In Clinical Studies News by Barbara Jacoby

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Source: lupus.org

People with lupus who tested positive for three or more different lupus autoantibodies have a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study. Overall, people with lupus had a 37% lower risk of breast cancer than the general population. Testing positive for specific autoantibodies (known as anti-dsDNA, anti-La and lupus anticoagulant) was also linked to lower breast cancer risk. Autoantibodies are made by the immune system and attack the body’s own cells.

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However, cancer risk also varied by race. While non-African-American people with lupus had a 71% lower risk of breast cancer compared to non-African-American people without the disease, risk of breast cancer among African-American people with lupus did not significantly differ from African-Americans in the general public. African Americans with lupus also had a heightened risk of cancers associated with human papilloma virus (HPV), particularly cancers of the cervix and vagina/vulva. Meanwhile, non-African Americans with lupus showed an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Thus, while testing positive for multiple autoantibodies may confer cancer protection, it remains unclear how racial differences may play a role in cancer risk as well. More research is needed.

Read the study