Investigating the association between allergen-specific immunoglobulin E, cancer risk and survival

Wahyu Wulaningsih*, Lars Holmberg, Hans Garmo, Sophia N. Karagiannis, Staffan Ahlstedt, Håkan Malmstrom, Mats Lambe, Niklas Hammar, Göran Walldius, Ingmar Jungner, Tony Ng, Mieke Van Hemelrijck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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Prior findings linking allergy and cancer have been inconsistent, which may be driven by diverse assessment methods. We used serum specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) against common inhalant allergens that was assessed prior to cancer diagnosis in studying this association. We selected 8,727 Swedish men and women who had measurements of serum allergen-specific IgE and total IgE between 1992 and 1996. Multivariable Cox regression using age as a timescale was performed to assess the associations of IgE sensitization, defined by any levels of serum specific IgE ≥35 kU/L, with risk of overall and specific cancers. A test for trend was performed by assigning scores derived from allergen-specific IgE levels at baseline as an ordinal scale. Kaplan–Meier curves and log-rank test were used to assess cancer survival by IgE sensitization status. During a mean follow-up of 16 year, 689 persons were diagnosed with cancer. We found an inverse association between IgE sensitization and cancer risk, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.83 and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of 0.70–0.99. A similar trend was seen with specific IgE scores overall (Ptrend = 0.007) and in women (Ptrend = 0.01). Although IgE sensitization was not associated with risk of common site-specific cancers, serum specific IgE scores were inversely associated with melanoma risk in men and women combined, and with risk of female breast and gynecological cancers combined. No association with survival was observed. The association between circulating IgE levels and incident cancer may point toward a role of T-helper 2 (TH2)-biased response in development of some cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1154250
Issue number6
Early online date28 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016


  • Allergy
  • atopy
  • cancer
  • cohort
  • immunoglobulin E


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