Middle-aged gout patients at higher risk of cancer, mortality

24 Sep 2021

The risks of cancer and all-cause and cancer mortality are higher among middle-aged patients with gout than the general population, reveals a study.

“Therefore, special attention should be paid to higher cancer risk and mortality in these patients who are diagnosed in middle age,” the investigators said.

Using the Korea Health Insurance Service database, the investigators identified patients aged 41–55 years with gout newly diagnosed between 2003 and 2007. They used a multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards model in gout patients (n=4,176) and a 1:2 ratio for controls (n=8,352) matched by age, sex, and index year.

Patients in both groups had a mean age of 48.8 years and were followed for a mean duration of 10.1 years. A significant difference was noted in overall cancer risk between gout patients and controls (hazard ratio [HR], 1.224, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.073–1.398). Gout patients also had significantly higher risk of all-cause (HR, 1.457, 95 percent CI, 1.149–1.847) and cancer mortality (HR, 1.470, 95 percent CI, 1.020–2.136).

Furthermore, subgroup analysis revealed higher risks of cancer of the stomach (HR, 1.710, 95 percent CI, 1.221–2.395), head and neck (HR, 1.850, 95 percent CI, 1.071–3.196), and haematologic or lymphoid organ (HR, 2.849, 95 percent CI, 1.035–7.844) in patients with gout.

“Gout is reportedly associated with a higher incidence of cancer,” the investigators said. “However, patients with gout tend to have several cancer-related factors including obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption.”

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