-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests a
link between breast implants and a rare form of lymphoma, but it's
not known if the implants actually cause the cancer or how the
disease might develop.
The researchers, from the nonprofit RAND Corporation, also found
that this type of lymphoma (a type of immune system cancer)
progresses slowly and can be treated by surgical removal of the
breast implant and surrounding capsule. The findings are published
in the April 15 online edition of the journal
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Concerns about a possible link between breast implants and
anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) were first raised in 1996
with the publication of a report by doctors who described the case
of a woman with implants who developed ALCL in tissue next to one
of her implants.
Since then, similar published reports have estimated that
between one case and three cases of ALCL would be diagnosed each
year for every one million women with breast implants.
For this study, the RAND researchers reviewed the medical
literature about breast implants and ALCL and also convened a panel
of experts to evaluate the evidence for a possible link between the
"Much more research is still needed to explore the link between breast implants and ALCL and the clinical significance of this rare disease, but our findings provide useful information for both patients and physicians in the near term," senior author Dr. Soeren Mattke, a senior scientist at RAND, said in a corporation news release.
In their review, Mattke and colleagues identified 36 published
cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma among women with breast implants; of
those, 29 were diagnosed with ALCL. The researchers found no
evidence that disease risk was influenced by patient risk factors
or particular types of implants.
Some of the women received chemotherapy and/or radiation, but
most had surgery to remove the affected implant and surrounding
tissue. There were no deaths among the 16 patients for whom
follow-up information was available, the researchers said.
The review findings were presented to the expert panel, who
concluded that the evidence suggests an association between breast
implants and ALCL, but does not definitively prove that implants
cause the cancer or explain how implants might trigger it.
The panelists also recommended that the appearance of a
fluid-filled sac near a breast implant at least six months after
surgery calls for a diagnostic evaluation for ALCL.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Society
of Plastic Surgeons announced recently a plan to create a registry
to collect data on women with breast implants who have been
diagnosed with ALCL.
The study was commissioned by the Plastic Surgery Foundation and
the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation.
The Lymphoma Research Foundation has more about
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