What are the risk factors for cancer in myotonic dystrophy?

Benign and malignant tumors in the UK myotonic dystrophy patient registry

Alsaggaf R, Wang Y, Marini-Bettolo C, et al

Muscle Nerve 2018; 57:316-320



In light of recent evidence indicating that cancer is part of the myotonic dystrophy (DM) phenotype, we assessed the prevalence of benign and malignant tumors among 220 patients enrolled in the UK Myotonic Dystrophy Patient Registry and evaluated factors associated with their development.


A survey was distributed to collect tumor history and lifestyle information. We used multinomial logistic regression for the analysis.


Thirty-nine benign (30 patients), and 16 malignant (15 patients) tumors were reported. Increasing age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.13, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.05-1.21, P = 0.001) and earlier age at DM diagnosis (OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.00-1.13, P = 0.04) were associated with benign and malignant tumors (OR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.10-1.30, P < 0.001 and OR = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.01-1.15, P = 0.02, respectively). Female gender was associated with benign tumors only (OR = 6.43, 95% CI = 1.79-23.04, P = 0.004). No associations were observed between tumors and smoking (P = 0.24), alcohol consumption (P = 0.50), or body mass index (P = 0.21).


Our results confirm previous findings suggesting a limited role for common lifestyle factors and a potential genetic contribution in DM tumor predisposition.

This reference is cited in the neurochecklist:

Myotonic dystrophy type 1: systemic features

Abstract link

By United States: National Institutes of Health – http://www.nih.gov/about/discovery/chronicdiseases/cancer.htm, Public Domain, Link

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