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MHRA reports increase in the number of BIA-ALCL cases in the UK

The number of women who have reported that they have been diagnosed with a form of cancer linked to their breast implants has now increased to 72 individual cases.

Breast Implants

21 August 2019

Breast implant associated-anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has been linked to textured breast implants and has led to a voluntary worldwide recall of Biocell saline-filled and silicone-filled textured breast implants and tissue expanders by the manufacturer, Allergan.

The UK regulator, the MHRA, has confirmed that number of reported instances of cases of BIA-ALCL reported to it has risen since January 2019, with this latest update representing the biggest increase in reported cases to date, from 52 to 72 cases in one month.

The MHRA reports that as of July 2019, the MHRA had received 72 reports of ALCL in patients with breast implants, of which 59 meet the official WHO diagnostic criteria, for BIA-ALCL.

Sarah Moore at Leigh Day, who is representing women with a confirmed diagnoses of BIA-ALCL, said:

“These updated figures may demonstrate the positive effect that increased UK media attention around BIA-ALCL has had upon ensuring that cases of BIA-ALCL are diagnosed more quickly by clinicians and reported more efficiently to the MHRA. 

“That media response has been fuelled principally by the interventions of foreign regulators in the US, Canada and Europe, all of whom have been robust in providing guidance to patients and ensuring that the products specifically associated with BIA-ALCL including Allergan and Nagor textured implants have been removed from the market.”

In comments to a BBC journalist last week, Mr Nigel Mercer, Chairman of the special MHRA committee looking into BIA-ALCL commented that BIA-ALCL appears to be a “genuinely new disease”. 

Sarah Moore responded:

“In light of the increased reports now acknowledged by the MHRA – it seems more likely that this is not a new condition but rather one that has gone under-diagnosed and mis-diagnosed for too long. What we are now beginning to see is the true incidence of this condition."


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