Dermatomyositis is an idiopathic inflammatory myopathy with a highly heterogeneous disease course. Although there is a known increase in cancer risk surrounding the time of dermatomyositis diagnosis, the mechanisms driving this increased risk are not well understood. Further, there are no current standardized cancer screening guidelines for dermatomyositis patients. In this issue of the JCI, Fiorentino, Mecoli, et al. discovered additional autoantibodies in patients with dermatomyositis and anti–TIF1-γ autoantibodies, a known risk factor for malignancy. They observed a decreased cancer risk with an increasing number of autoantibodies. Importantly, these findings indicate that more detailed autoantibody phenotyping at diagnosis might better predict cancer risk and also suggest that diversity and kinetics of the host immune response might influence cancer development.
Jessica L. Turnier, J. Michelle Kahlenberg