THURSDAY, Sept. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The risks for overall and cancer-specific death are increased for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the six months following colorectal cancer diagnosis, according to a study published online Sept. 15 in Neurology.

Ruth Ann Marrie, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and colleagues compared overall and cancer-specific survival among persons with colorectal cancer with and without MS. Data were included for 338 MS cases and 1,352 controls without MS, matched for birth year, sex, cancer diagnosis year, and region.

The researchers found that MS was associated with an increased risk for all-cause death after adjustment, with the highest risk at six months after diagnosis (hazard ratio, 1.45), which then decreased over time. For cancer-specific death, MS correlated with an increased risk at six months after diagnosis only (hazard ratio, 1.29). MS was associated with an increased risk for death due to any cause and for cancer-specific death (hazard ratios, 1.60 and 1.47, respectively), after adjustment for cancer stage. After adjustment for disability status, the associations of MS and all-cause death and cancer-specific death were attenuated and were no longer significant.

“Understanding more about the factors involved in treating cancer in people with MS and their outcomes will be helpful for people with MS and their doctors as they balance the benefits of cancer treatment with the potential adverse effects and consider life expectancy and quality of life,” Marrie said in a statement.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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