Lupus and cancer

Lupus. 2009 May;18(6):479-85. doi: 10.1177/0961203309102556.


Individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have an increased susceptibility to certain types of cancer. Of particular concern are haematologic malignancies, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma, where a three- to four-fold increased risk is seen in SLE, compared with the general population. There is some evidence that immunosuppressive exposures play a role, although there appear to be other factors driving the risk. Lupus disease activity, with resultant dysregulated lymphocyte proliferation, may itself be a mediator of the association between SLE and lymphoma. Aside from haematologic malignancy risk, lung cancer also is increased in SLE compared with the general population, and smoking likely drives this risk in large part. Last but not least, cervical dysplasia is a concern in women with SLE, particularly with exposure to immunosuppressants; routine screening for this complication should not be neglected.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Incidence
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors