We conducted a study to determine the occurrence and types of cancer occurring in a cohort of patients with polymyositis (PM) or dermatomyositis (DM) and analyzed the value of this autoantibody as a serologic marker of cancer-associated myositis (CAM). Serum samples from all patients were examined by protein immunoprecipitation assays with HeLa cells to determine the presence of a 155-kDa protein band. HLA-DRB1 and DQA1 typing was performed by polymerase chain reaction-reverse sequence specific oligonucleotide.
Statistical analyses were carried out with the Mann Whitney U and Fisher exact tests.
Associations were determined using odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Eighty-five patients with myositis (20 PM and 65 DM) were included. CAM was detected in 16 patients (19%), 14 with DM. The shawl sign rash was significantly more frequent in patients with CAM than in those without (p < 0.01). Adenocarcinoma was the most frequent type of cancer (87.5%). Anti-p155 autoantibody was found in 1 of the 20 (5%) patients with PM and in 15 of the 65 (23%) patients with DM. A relationship between anti-p155 and CAM was found in DM patients (OR, 23; 95% CI, 5.23-101.2). The HLA-DQA1*0102 allele was not found in any of the anti-p155-positive patients.
The prevalence of CAM in our cohort was 19%. Autoantibody against p155 was highly related to CAM and could be a reliable marker of cancer in patients with DM.