Tags: common drug | Celebrex | prevent | skin cancer | basal cell carcinoma | common skin cancer

Common Drug Helps Prevent Skin Cancers

Monday, 17 May 2010 08:58 AM


You may already have a remedy to prevent a common skin cancer sitting in your medicine cabinet. Researchers at Stanford's School of Medicine have found that celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory prescription drug sold as Celebrex and used to lessen the pain of arthritis, can reduce the risk of basil cell carcinomas, a common skin cancer in humans.

Although taking the drug by mouth is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, researchers believe that a topical form could protect people prone to develop the cancers and be safer.

"Basal cell carcinomas are the most common human cancer in the United States, and their incidence is increasing steadily," Dr. Jean Tang, assistant professor of dermatology, said in a statement. "This work identifies a possible way to prevent them." Tang and her colleagues dovetailed studies in mice with a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial in humans to reach their conclusions.

Tang knew that a previous study had suggested that celecoxib, which belongs to a class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can hinder the development of a different kind of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, in mice. They wondered if the drug would have a similar effect on the more common basal cell carcinoma.

Despite efforts to reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation from exposure to the sun, the incidence of basal cell carcinoma is increasing rapidly in all age groups.

The researchers enrolled 60 people with a genetic predisposition to basal cell carcinoma in a double-blinded, randomized, three-year clinical trial. People with the disorder, called basal cell nevus syndrome, develop hundreds of skin cancers throughout their lifetimes and must be closely monitored by a dermatologist. About half the patients received 200 mg celecoxib twice a day in a pill format, while the others received a placebo. All patients were monitored at three-month intervals for the development of new basal cell carcinomas or the growth of previously identified cancers.

Celecoxib is believed to work to prevent or slow cancer growth by interfering with an enzyme called Cox-2, which causes inflammation. In addition to killing pain, celecoxib fights inflammation, which has been linked to the development of cancer.

Before conducting the human trial, the researchers had found that deleting the Cox-2 gene reduced the number and size of skin tumors by 70 percent. "We wanted to see if we could have the same effect pharmacologically," said Tang, who then gave mice regular doses of celecoxib to inhibit Cox-2. The drug reduced their tumors by 35 percent.

The human trial began two years before Vioxx, a different NSAID, was withdrawn from the market due to high risk of heart attack and stroke. At that time, Tang discontinued her trial but continued to follow patients who had taken celecoxib. No patients died or had heart attacks or stroke due to the medication.

Tang found that although patients continued to develop new cancers, celecoxib decreased the growth of tumors by about 50 percent compared to the placebo group. The drug improve the tumors of patients who had 15 or more lesions when they entered the study, perhaps because their disease was more severe.

Skin cancers account for half of all cancers. More than 1 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year. But you can protect yourself from skin cancer by using these tips provided by the American Cancer Society:

• Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Choose protective clothing made of tightly woven fabrics that can't been seen through when held up to a light.
• Use sunscreen and lip balm with a SPF of 15 or higher.
• Wear wide-brimmed hats that shade your face, ears, and neck.
• Stay in the shade when the sun's rays are strongest.
• Keep your guard up even on cloudy days since UV trays travel through clouds.
• Choose sunglasses with 99 percent to 100 percent UV absorption.
• Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.




© HealthDay

   
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You may already have a remedy to prevent a common skin cancer sitting in your medicine cabinet. Researchers at Stanford's School of Medicine have found that celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory prescription drug sold as Celebrex and used to lessen the pain of arthritis, can reduce the risk of basil cell
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Monday, 17 May 2010 08:58 AM
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