Patients With Psoriasis Taking Biologic Agents May Receive Inadequate Age-Appropriate Breast, Colon Cancer Screening

mammogram breast cancer
mammogram breast cancer
Do patients with psoriasis prescribed biologic agents receive the suggested screenings for cervical, breast, and colon cancer?

Screening rates for cervical cancer and colon cancer are higher in patients with psoriasis who take biologic therapy compared with the general population, but patients with psoriasis treated with biologic agents may have generally lower age-appropriate screening rates for breast cancer and colon cancer, according to study findings published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The retrospective cohort study used a de-identified electronic health record dataset to collect data on incidence rates for cervical cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer screenings. These incidence rates were compared for 8663 patients with psoriasis prescribed biologic agents (mean age, 49.2 years) and 2 matched comparator cohorts. The comparator cohorts included the general patient population without psoriasis (n=31,857; mean age, 48.1 years) and patients with hypertension (n=31,269; mean age, 50.8 years).

Patients with psoriasis prescribed biologic agents had similar rates of cervical cancer screening compared with patients with hypertension (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.97; 95% CI, 0.91-1.04; P =.41). In contrast, patients with psoriasis treated with biologic agents had a 9% higher cervical cancer screening rate compared with the general population (aHR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02-1.16; P =.01).

In addition, patients with psoriasis also had a significantly higher rate of colon cancer screening (aHR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02-1.18; P =.010). Patients with psoriasis had an 11% lower colon cancer screening rate compared with patients with hypertension (aHR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.83-0.95; P =.001). Compared with patients with hypertension, patients with psoriasis who were treated with biologic agents also had significantly lower screenings rates for breast cancer (aHR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.83-0.94; P <.001).

Limitations of this study included its retrospective nature, the lack of data on cancer-related outcomes, as well as the lack of assessment for racial/ethnic differences in regard to cancer screening rates.

The investigators concluded that greater “education about the importance of age-appropriate cancer screening in this population may represent an opportunity to improve outcomes with respect to cancer related morbidity and mortality.”

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Barbieri JS, Wang S, Ogdie AR, Shin DB, Takeshita J. Age-appropriate cancer screening: A cohort study of adults with psoriasis prescribed biologics, adults in the general population, and adults with hypertension. Published online October 23, 2020. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2020.10.045