21 Dec 2011

‘No evidence’ of breast implant cancer link

Amid concern over breast implants made by a French company, UK health watchdog the MHRA says its tests showed no evidence of a link with breast cancer.

The concerns relate to implants made by the French company Poly Implant Prosthese (PIP). They stem from news of the death of a woman in France from a rare immune system cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). The dead woman had implants made by this particular type of prosthesis.

The MHRA said its advice to women who have had implants continues to be “that women who have questions about their breasts or think that their implants may have ruptured, should seek clinical advice from their implanting surgeon”.

In March 2010, the French government suspended the marketing and use of pre-filled silicone gel breast implants made by PIP over concerns about rupturing and that the gel used was not of the high quality stated on the company’s design and manufacturing file.

In April 2011 the MHRA also reported that tests carried out on the implants showed there was no evidence of any abnormal health effects associated with the filler.

No evidence of cancer link

The MHRA said its own testing last year revealed no evidence of a link with cancer. It said it had received no reports of ALCL linked with breast implants in the UK, adding: “Discussions with the relevant UK professional bodies have not identified any cases.”

And it said there was no evidence to support women having the implants removed.

“The MHRA has reviewed available evidence for association of cancers for women with breast implants in consultation with the relevant UK professional bodies for breast surgery and surgical oncology and has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to indicate any association with cancer.

“Additionally, the MHRA worked with the cancer registry and could find no evidence for any association.”