Nine women have died in the United States of a rare form of breast implant-related cancer, according to health authorities who have identified more than 350 cases of this disease across the country.
A possible link between breast implants and large cell anaplastic lymphoma (LAGC) had been suggested as early as 2011, but very few cases were found.
Today, the US Agency for Drugs (FDA) received 359 notifications of such cancers related to breast implants, nine of which were fatal.
“All the information we have now suggests that women with implants have a very low risk but an increased risk of developing cancer compared to women without breast implants,” the FDA said on Tuesday evening .
By issuing this warning, the US agency aligned itself with the World Health Organization (WHO), which had already pointed the LAGC “as a rare form of lymphoma that can develop with breast implants.”
Most cases have been found in women with rough surface implants as opposed to smooth-surface implants, the FDA noted.
The content of the implant does not seem to make much difference: 186 cancers were recorded with implants containing a silicone gel and 126 for implants filled with saline. It is not known what the implants were filled in the other cases.
The FDA regretted that it is difficult to establish a true exhaustive picture of cases of implants-related cancers due to the limited number of sales data on these prostheses.
In most of these cancers, implants were removed, but some women also had to perform chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
In December, Australia reported 46 confirmed cases of breast implant-related lymphoma, including three deaths.
The French National Cancer Institute warned two years ago of a “clearly established link between the occurrence of this condition and the wearing of a breast implant”, while stressing that “the frequency of this complication is however very weak “.
Given the scarcity of cases, the institute noted that it was not necessary to recommend removal of the implants.
According to the Agence du médicament (ANSM) in France, 29 cases of large cell anaplastic lymphomas have been identified among women with breast implants between 2011 and June 2016.