Medical professional talking to a patient about Disease Modifying Therapies cervix lesions

Disease-modifying therapies linked to increased risk of cervical lesions in women

Taking high-efficacy disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) is linked with an increased risk of abnormalities of the cervix in females with multiple sclerosis (MS), new research suggests.

This information is consistent with other research which has associated DMTs with a greater risk of certain cancers possibly due to their immune-modulating effects.

The results were presented at the recent 38th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS).

The Human papilloma virus is a very common sexuality transmitted infection of which some strains of cause the development of cancer of the cervix and other cervical lesions. Most people’s immune systems clear the infection and it causes no lasting damage, but those with a compromised immune system may struggle to, the researchers said. As DMTs modulate or suppress immune system activity, their long-term use has been linked to an increased likelihood of infections and possibly cancer.

The research looked at 2,101 cervical screening results. There were 36.6 cases of abnormalities of the cervix per 1,000 person-years in the high-dose DMT group, and 10.2 occurrences per 1,000 person-years in those who had not taken DMTs. This is a 3.8 times higher risk.

The researchers said that bigger studies are needed to substantiate the findings, which could have ‘important clinical implications’ if they are confirmed.