Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Blockers (marketed as Remicade, Enbrel, Humira, and Cimzia)

June 4, 2008

Audience: Rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, oncologists, other healthcare professionals

[Posted 06/03/2008] FDA issued an Early Communication About an Ongoing Safety Review to inform healthcare professionals that the Agency is investigating a possible association between the use of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blockers and the development of lymphoma and other cancers in children and young adults. FDA is investigating approximately 30 reports of cancer in children and young adults. These reports were submitted to FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System over a ten-year interval, beginning in 1998 through April 29, 2008. These reports describe cancer occurring in children and young adults who began taking TNF blockers (along with other immuno-suppressive medicines such as methotrexate, azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine), when they were ages 18 or less, to treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Crohn's disease or other diseases. Approximately half of the cancers were lymphomas, including both Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Long-term studies are necessary to provide definitive answers about whether TNF blockers increase the occurrence of cancers in children because cancers may take a long time to develop and may not be detected in short-term studies. Until the evaluation is completed, healthcare providers, parents, and caregivers should be aware of the possible risk of lymphoma and other cancers in children and young adults when deciding how to best treat these patients.

[June 04, 2008 - Early Communication About an Ongoing Safety Review of TNF Blockers - FDA]

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