The risk of malignancy associated with psoriasis

David Margolis, Warren Bilker, Sean Hennessy, Carmela Vittorio, Jill Santanna, Brian L. Strom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

168 Scopus citations


Objective: To measure the incidence of cancer in patients with psoriasis, stratified by the severity of their disease. Design: A cohort study. Setting: Administrative claims records obtained from Medicaid programs in 3 US states. Participants: All individuals in the claims database who qualified for 1 of the 5 following groups: severe psoriasis as defined by treatment with systemic medication, less severe psoriasis, severe eczema, history of organ transplantation, and hypertension. Main Outcome Measure: A diagnosis of cancer. Results: Individuals with severe psoriasis were more likely to develop a malignancy than those with hypertension (risk ratio, 1.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32-2.40). The risk of malignancy in the severe psoriasis group approaches that in patients with organ transplants (risk ratio, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.80-2.50). Most of these cancers were nonmelanoma skin cancers and lymphoproliferative malignancies. Those with less severe psoriasis were only slightly more likely to develop a new malignancy than those with hypertension (risk ratio, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.03-1.25). Conclusions: Patients with psoriasis are at an increased risk of developing a malignancy compared with patients with hypertension. The increased risk is greatest for those with severe disease (ie, patients with psoriasis treated with systemic agents) and minimal (if an increased risk at all) for those with less severe disease compared with those in the hypertension group. The increased risk is mainly for lymphoproliferative cancers and nonmelanoma skin cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-783
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 7 2001


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology

Cite this

Margolis, D., Bilker, W., Hennessy, S., Vittorio, C., Santanna, J., & Strom, B. L. (2001). The risk of malignancy associated with psoriasis. Archives of dermatology, 137(6), 778-783.