Does Skyrizi cause cancer?
Skyrizi has no warnings or precautions for malignancy (cancer) in its product label and cancer is not listed as a serious or common side effect.
Very few cases of cancer were reported in plaque psoriasis clinical trials and may not have been treatment-related.
- In the Phase 3 studies of up to 52-weeks (UltIMMa-1, UltIMMa-2), 997 participants received Skyrizi (risankizumab) treatment at Weeks 0, 4, and every 12 weeks thereafter.
- Non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma) was reported in 4 patients receiving Skyrizi and one patient in the placebo group. Across all studies, 38% of subjects had received prior phototherapy. Phototherapy has been associated with an increased risk of skin cancer.
- In the UltIMMa-2 study, one patient had a report of breast cancer.
Do patients with psoriasis get cancer more often?
A large review published in JAMA Dermatology looked at over 58 studies from 2018 to 2019. Researchers found that psoriasis itself can be linked with an increased risk of many types of cancer, such as colon, kidney, throat (laryngeal), esophageal, liver, oral, pancreatic and blood cancers like lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- The exact reasons why people with psoriasis have a greater risk for cancer is not known, but may be related to chronic inflammation and the immune response.
- Lifestyles found in some patients with psoriasis, such as tobacco and alcohol use and metabolic syndrome may be linked with a higher risk for cancer.
- Phototherapy (light therapy) is also known to increase the risk of developing skin cancers in patients with psoriasis.
- More research is needed to fully pinpoint the link between cancer and psoriasis.
Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) is used for the treatment of plaque psoriasis in adults who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or treatment using ultraviolet or UV light (phototherapy). It is also approved to treat active psoriatic arthritis and moderate-to-severe Crohn's disease in adults.
Skyrizi works by blocking interleukin-23 (IL-23) and lowering the inflammatory response.
Related: Skyrizi side effects (in more detail)
Other treatments approved by the FDA to treat plaque psoriasis include:
- Cosentyx (secukinumab)
- Enbrel (etanercept)
- Humira (adalimumab)
- Stelara (ustekinumab)
- Otezla (apremilast)
This is not all the information you need to know about Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full Skyrizi product information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.
- Gordon KB, Strober B, Lebwohl M, et al. Efficacy and safety of risankizumab in moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis (UltIMMa-1 and UltIMMa-2): results from two double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled and ustekinumab-controlled phase 3 trials. Lancet. 2018 Aug 25;392(10148):650-661. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31713-6.
- Ranaweera A, Oakley A. Key clinical-trial evidence for risankizumab. DermNet NZ. August 2019. Accessed August 25, 2021 at https://dermnetnz.org/topics/key-clinical-trial-evidence-for-risankizumab/
- Trafford AM, Parisi R, Kontopantelis E, et al. Association of Psoriasis With the Risk of Developing or Dying of Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Dermatol. 2019;155(12):1390–1403. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.3056
- Wu D. Psoriasis and cancer: What’s the link? Harvard Health. Dec. 5, 2019. Accessed Aug. 25, 2021 at https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/psoriasis-and-cancer-whats-the-link-2019120518320
- Skyrizi.com. AbbVie. Accessed June 20, 2022 at https://www.skyrizihcp.com/clinical-safety
- Skyrizi prescribing information. 6/2022. AbbVie. North Chicago, Illinois. Accessed Jan. 30, 2022 at https://www.rxabbvie.com/pdf/skyrizi_pi.pdf
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