Cancer risk in hospitalised asthma patients

Br J Cancer. 2009 Mar 10;100(5):829-33. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604890. Epub 2009 Jan 27.


Asthma is an increasingly common disorder, affecting 5-10% of the population. It involves a dysregulated immune function, which may predispose to subsequent cancer. We examined cancer risk among Swedish subjects who had hospital admission once or multiple times for asthma. An asthma research database was created by identifying asthma patients from the Swedish Hospital Discharge Register and by linking them with the Cancer Registry. A total of 140 425 patients were hospitalised for asthma during 1965-2004, of whom 7421 patients developed cancer, giving an overall standardised incidence ratio (SIR) of 1.36. A significant increase was noted for most sites, with the exception of breast and ovarian cancers and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and myeloma. Patients with multiple hospital admissions showed a high risk, particularly for stomach (SIR 1.70) and colon (SIR 1.99) cancers. A significant decrease was noted for endometrial cancer and skin melanoma. Oesophageal and lung cancers showed high risks throughout the study period, whereas stomach cancer increased towards the end of the period. The relatively stable temporal trends suggest that the asthmatic condition rather than its medication is responsible for the observed associations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology