Biological drugs that are used to treat arthritis do not increase the risk of cancer in patients who use the drugs, according to a report presented at EULAR, the 2011 Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism. The biologic drugs referred to in the study were the anti-TNF drugs, which include infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi) and etanercept (Enbrel). Based on data from over 13,000 patients, only 3% of patients in the study who were receiving anti-TNF drugs developed a first cancer within 9 years and overall risk was not dependent on the type of arthritis that the patient had.
The 9-year follow-up study conducted at Gentofte University Hospital, Denmark demonstrated that risk was not increased in patients treated with anti-TNF drugs when compared to patients who had never taken the drugs. Some previous studies suggested that anti-TNF drugs may increase the risk of cancer, but researchers conclude that this long-term study indicates otherwise.