Association between psoriasis and incident cancer: The Iowa's Women's Health Study

Anna E. Prizment, Alvaro Alonso, Aaron R. Folsom, Rehana L. Ahmed, Beth A. Virnig, Erin M. Warshaw, Kristin E. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Introduction: Studies have reported higher cancer risk in individuals with psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease; however, adjustment for potential confounders was lacking. Methods: We examined the association of psoriasis with cancer incidence in 32,910 women after age 65 in the IWHS cohort linked to Medicare. Psoriasis was defined as: 2+ psoriasis claims from any Medicare file during 1991-2004 or 1+ psoriasis claim from a dermatologist (n = 719). Severe psoriasis was defined as 4+ psoriasis claims from a dermatologist in any year (n = 121). Cox proportional hazards regression, with psoriasis as a time-dependent variable was conducted to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of total (n = 6,488), breast (n = 2,066), lung (n = 742), and colon cancers (n = 947). Results: With age-adjustment, psoriasis (yes vs. no) was associated with increased risk of lung 1.9 (95% CI: 1.2-3.0), colon 1.6 (95% CI: 1.1-2.5), and total cancer 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0-1.4). After further adjustment for smoking, body mass index, education, physical activity, and hormone therapy use, only the association for colon cancer remained statistically significant (HR = 1.6, 95% CI: 1.0-2.4) and was stronger for severe psoriasis. Conclusion: The observed association between psoriasis and colon cancer may reflect inflammatory or unidentified processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1010
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors are thankful to the IWHS staff for consultation and assistance in data preparation. The authors are especially thankful to Bill Baker for help with the analysis of Medicare data. This study was supported by National Cancer Institute grant R01 CA39742.


  • Colon cancer
  • Immune disease
  • Inflammation
  • Medicare
  • Psoriasis


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