Can using acetaminophen compromise your cancer treatment? Elizabeth Tracey reports


People being treated for cancer with immune checkpoint inhibitors who also took acetaminophen, or Tylenol, had worse outcomes for their cancer treatment than those who did not, a recent study found. Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson says there has been a hint of this relationship before, and it may have to do with fever.

Nelson: This is actually interesting and one hint that people have actually wondered about is is the presence of fever itself beneficial in response. One of the stereotypical events is as the immune system is muscling up you get a fever and there’s many things that change at that higher body temperature that aid the immune system in working better, so there’s always been a concern that if you ablate that fever response are you innately slowing down the immune system?  :28

Nelson says although this finding needs confirmation, limiting use of medications to reduce fever may be a good choice much of the time while cancer treatment is underway. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.