TNF Blockers Receive Stronger Warnings for Cancer Risks

The so-called miracle drugs for arthritis in juveniles and teens have now received stronger FDA warnings. TNF drugs focus and neutralize tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), a protein that, when overproduced in the body due to chronic inflammatory diseases, can cause inflammation and damage to bones, cartilage and tissue. The drugs in this class include Remicade (infliximab), Enbrel (etancercept), Humira (adalimumab), Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) and Simponi (golimumab).
The stronger FDA warnings intend to highlight the risks of children and teens who take these drugs to treat such conditions as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorder, and Chron’s disease.
According to Medical News Today, the stronger warnings come after an investigation found that children and adolescents who take these drugs are at an increased risk of developing cancer, some of which were fatal.
The FDA reported the following regarding their findings:
Hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, 10 cases
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 7 cases
Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 6 cases
Leukemia, 6 cases
Malignant Melanoma, 3 cases
Thyroid cancer, 3 cases
Basal cell carcinoma, 1 case
Lymphoma and AML, 1 case
Leiomyosarcoma, 1 case
Nephroblastoma, 1 case
Renal cell carcinoma, 1 case
Metastatic hepatocellular cancer, 1 case
Malignant mastocytosis, 1 case
Neuroblastoma, 1 case
Colorectal cancer, 1 case
Yolk sac tumor, 1 case
Myelodysplasia, 1 case
Bladder cancer, 1 case
Remicade was implicated in 31 of the cases, 15 cases involved Enbrel, and 2 cases concerned the drug Humira.