Some, but not all, reports suggest that patients with Gaucher disease are at increased risk of developing malignancies, particularly hematopoietic tumors. The aim of this study was to assess the pattern of Gaucher disease and subsequent malignancies among male veterans admitted to US Veterans Affairs hospitals.
Among 832 294 African American and 3 668 983 white male veterans with at least 1 hospital admission in US Veterans Affairs hospitals and up to 27 years of follow-up, we identified a total of 1525 patients with Gaucher disease; 11.7% were African Americans. We used Poisson regression methods for cohort data to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) after adjusting for attained age and calendar year, race, number of hospital visits, and latency.
When patients with Gaucher disease were compared with patients without Gaucher disease, the RR of any cancer was 0.91 (95% CI, 0.76-1.08 [n = 137]). When we stratified our analyses by race, risks were similar for whites (RR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.74-1.07 [n = 120]) and African Americans (RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.61-1.64 [ n = 17]). Patients with Gaucher disease had an elevated risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (RR, 2.54; 95% CI, 1.32-4.88 [n = 9]), malignant melanoma (RR, 3.07; 95% CI, 1.28-7.38 [n = 5]), and pancreatic cancer (RR, 2.37; 95% CI, 1.13-4.98 [n = 7]). Among the remaining 19 cases involving defined solid tumors and 7 other hematologic malignancies, we found no statistical association with Gaucher disease.
We found 2- to 3-fold risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, malignant melanoma, and pancreatic cancer in patients with Gaucher disease, but no significant association between Gaucher disease and cancer in general or with other specific malignancies such as multiple myeloma.