Because of concerns about malignancy risks, using biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) in patients with a history of malignancy remains a challenging issue in rheumatology practice. This study aimed to investigate bDMARD preferences of physicians when treating of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and spondyloarthritis (SpA) patients with a history of malignancy.
The data for this cross-sectional study were gathered from the TReasure database using a date range of December 2017 and January 2020. Biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drug preferences were analyzed for 40 RA patients and 25 SpA patients with a history of malignancy.
The most frequently prescribed bDMARD was rituximab, which was given to 28 RA patients (70%). For 25 patients (62.5%), the time between the diagnosis of malignancy and starting on a bDMARD regimen was less than 60 months, with a median interval of 43.5 months. Among SpA patients, the preferred bDMARDs were secukinumab and etanercept, which were each administered to 7 patients (28%). For 13 SpA patients (52%), the time between the diagnosis of malignancy and starting on bDMARDs was less than 60 months, with a median interval of 97 months.
The observed bDMARD preferences may be related to the therapeutic effects of rituximab on lymphoproliferative malignancies, the protective effects of secukinumab on tumor progression, and the short half-life of etanercept. Biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs should be used in RA and SpA patients with malignancy in case of high inflammatory activity.