TUESDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Some patients with inflammatory bowel disease may be at increased risk for skin cancer due to their use of immunosuppressant drugs to treat the intestinal disorder, according to the results of two new studies.
The studies, published in the November issue of the journal Gastroenterology, noted that immunosuppressants are commonly used to treat patients with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. Currently, there are no specific recommendations for skin cancer screening in IBD patients.
In one study, French researchers led by Dr. Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet, of University Hospital of Nancy, found that both past and present use of a widely used class of immunosuppressants called thiopurines significantly increased the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer in inflammatory bowel disease patients.
"The increased risk of skin cancer that we found in our study was observed in all patients, even before the age of 50 years. As expected, this risk increased with age. All patients with inflammatory bowel disease currently receiving or having previously received thiopurines should protect their skin from UV radiation and receive regular dermatologic screening, regardless of their age," Peyrin-Biroulet said in a news release from the American Gastroenterological Association.