Association between allergies and cancer: do allergies offer protection from cancer?

According a comprehensive literature review, individuals with any type of allergy have a decreased risk for cancer (compared with the general population), including:

  • glioma
  • colorectal cancer
  • cancer of the larynx
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • cancer of the esophagus
  • oral cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • uterine body cancer

However, an increased risk for the following cancers was observed among those with allergies:

  • bladder cancer
  • lymphoma
  • myeloma
  • prostate cancer

Further research is needed to verify these results and to determine why such associations may exist.


The association between allergies and cancer: what is currently known? Merrill RM, Isakson RT, Beck RE. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2007 Aug;99(2):102-16; quiz 117-9, 150.
Relationship between Allergy and Cancer: enhanced immunosurveillance might prevent cancer

Related reading:

. Prof. Erika Jensen-Jarolim, MD, head of the Department of Pathophysiology at the Center of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna.
Patients with atopic dermatitis were at 1.5 times greater risk of getting cancer in a large UK study of 4.5 million people. The cancers included lymphoma, melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer.
Can allergies prevent tumors? Can antihistamines increase risk? CNN - Probably not. Most pts with allergies take anthistamines.
Assessment of Type of Allergy and Antihistamine Use in the Development of Glioma
The nascent field of AllergoOncology

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