This article is part of the supplement: Lupus 2012: New targets, new approaches

Open Badges Meeting abstract

Lung cancer in systemic lupus erythematosus

M Kale1, R Ramsey-Goldman2, S Bernatsky1, MB Urowitz3, D Gladman3, PR Fortin4, M Petri5, E Yelin6, S Manzi7, S Edworthy8, O Nived9, S-C Bae10, D Isenberg11, A Rahman11, JG Hanly12, C Gordon13, S Jacobsen14, E Ginzler15, DJ Wallace16, GS Alarcón17, MA Dooley18, L Gottesman15, K Steinsson19, A Zoma20, J-L Senécal21, S Barr8, G Sturfelt9, L Dreyer22, L Criswell6, J Sibley23, JL Lee1 and AE Clarke1*

  • * Corresponding author: AE Clarke

Author Affiliations

1 McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada

2 Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

3 Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada

4 Université de Laval, QC, Canada

5 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

6 University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

7 West Penn Allegheny Health System, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

8 University of Calgary, AB, Canada

9 Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

10 The Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea

11 University College, London, UK

12 Dalhousie University and Capital Health, Halifax, NS, Canada

13 College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK

14 Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark

15 State University of New York - Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA

16 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, CA, USA

17 The University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA

18 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA

19 Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland

20 Lanarkshire Centre for Rheumatology, Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, UK

21 Université de Montréal, QC, Canada

22 Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark

23 Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14(Suppl 3):A15  doi:10.1186/ar3949

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:27 September 2012

© 2012 Kale et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


An increased lung cancer risk in SLE has been suggested in the literature [1]. Our objective was to provide an updated analyses of the lung cancer cases from a multi-site international cohort study, including descriptive statistics of the demographics (age, sex, and race/ethnicity) of cases, as well the of histology.


Data from an SLE sample of 15,980 SLE patients from 28 centers were analyzed (in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Scotland, Korea and Iceland). Information on date of birth, sex and race was available, along with the date of SLE diagnosis. Cancer occurrence was ascertained through linkages with regional tumor registries. We assessed the demographic characteristics for all lung cancer cases in the SLE patients, and information on histology types was analyzed from the centers where this information was available.


In the current analyses, 101 lung cancer cases that had occurred after SLE diagnosis were studied. The lung cancer cases were distributed across 21 centers. The average age of the SLE patients at lung cancer diagnosis was 60 years (median 40, standard deviation (SD) 10.9). The average SLE duration at the time of lung cancer diagnosis was 13 years (median 12, SD 10.6). Race/ethnicity was not provided by six centers (35 cases). Of the remaining 66 cases, the majority were Caucasian (n = 54, 53.5%) followed by nine African-American, one Asian, one Pacific-Islander and one of unknown racial/ethnic origin. Histological lung cancer type was only provided by 12 centers (59 cases). The most common histological type reported within these 59 cases was squamous cell carcinoma (n = 15, 25.4%; 95% CI = 16.1 to 37.8) followed by adenocarcinoma (n = 13, 22%; 95% CI = 13.4 to 34.1) and nonsmall-cell carcinoma (n = 5, 8.5%; 95% CI = 3.7 to 18.4). The remaining 44% were composed of carcinomas not otherwise specified and a variety of uncommon tumors: large cell, clear cell, solid, bronchoalveolar, adenosquamous, epithelial hemangioendothelioma, oat cell, carcinoid, small cell and mucinous histological types.


In the general population, about 30 to 40% of lung cancer cases are adenocarcinoma, with 20 to 30% squamous cell carcinoma, and 10% large cell carcinoma [2]. Our results suggest a similar distribution, but with a possibly lower proportion of adenocarcinomas, and a higher number of uncommon lung cancer types. Further work is planned to assess other features of these cancers.


  1. Bernatsky S, Clarke A, Petri MA, et al.: Further defining cancer risk in systemic lupus: updated results in an expanded international multi-centre cohort [abstract].

    Arthritis Rheum 2010, 62:S731. OpenURL

  2. Bin J, Bernatsky S, Gordon C, et al.: Lung cancer in systemic lupus erythematosus.

    Lung Cancer 2007, 56:303-306. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL