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Recent Cancer May Increase Risk for Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Odds ratios for GBS were highest for cancers of lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue, respiratory tract, prostate, breast

FRIDAY, March 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Recent cancer is associated with an increased risk for subsequent Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), according to a study published online March 2 in Neurology.

Lotte Sahin Levison, M.D., Ph.D., from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues examined the association between incident cancer and the subsequent risk for GBS development in a case-control study. Cases included all patients with first-time hospital-diagnosed GBS in Denmark between 1987 and 2016 and 10 age-, sex-, and index date-matched population controls per case; data were included for 2,414 cases with GBS and 23,909 controls. Incident cancer diagnoses were identified between six months before and two years after GBS index date.

The researchers found that 2.0 and 0.6 percent of cases and controls had a recent cancer diagnosis, respectively, yielding a matched odds ratio of 3.6 for GBS in association with cancer. The results were robust on stratification by calendar time, gender, and age. The associations were narrowed slightly by broadening and narrowing the exposure window (odds ratios, 2.4 and 2.5, respectively). The highest odds ratios for GBS were seen for cancers of the lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue, respiratory tract, prostate and other male genital organs, and breast cancer (odds ratios, 7.2, 5.6, 5.0, and 5.0, respectively).

“While our study suggests that people with cancer have a greater risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, it is important that people with cancer know the overall risk of developing Guillain-Barré is still very small,” Levison said in a statement.

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