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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Oct 2019 - 11 Oct 2019

Human Studies


2019 Oct 05

Medicines (Basel)



Association between Itch and Cancer in 3836 Pediatric Pruritus Patients at a Tertiary Care Center.


Belzberg M, Larson VA, Khanna R, Williams KA, Semenov Y, Ständer S, Grossberg AL, Kwatra SG
Medicines (Basel). 2019 Oct 05; 6(4).
PMID: 31590346.


: Pruritus is a well-recognized paraneoplastic phenomenon. Previous studies have examined the association of itch with a variety of malignancies in adults. However, no large study has examined this association in a pediatric population. : A retrospective study was conducted of patients age 18 or less seen at Johns Hopkins Health System between 2012 and 2019. : A pediatric hospital population of 1,042,976 patients was reviewed. Pruritus was observed in 3836 pediatric patients of whom 130 also had cancer. Pediatric patients with pruritus were significantly more likely to have concomitant malignancy compared to pediatric patients without pruritus (OR 12.84; 95% CI 10.73-15.35, < 0.001). Malignancies most strongly associated with pruritus included neoplasms of the blood (OR 14.38; 95% CI 11.30-18.29, < 0.001), bone (OR 29.02, 95% CI 18.28-46.06, < 0.001) and skin (OR 22.76, 95% CI 9.14-56.72, < 0.001. : Pruritus is significantly associated with malignancy in the pediatric hospital population. Clinicians should also be aware of the high burden of itch in pediatric malignancies and the variation in pruritus across malignancies.