Thursday, May 14, 2015

A type of vitamin B3 cuts risk of recurring non-melanoma skin cancers

CANCER DIGEST – May 14, 2015 – Taking a form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide twice a day reduced the rates of new skin cancers in people who had previously been treated for non-melanoma skin by 23 percent, a new study shows.

The early results of a large Australian skin cancer trial, called ONTRAC were announced today ahead of presentation at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting beginning May 29 in Chicago.

In this study, 386 patients who had at least two non-melanoma skin cancers in the last five years – and were therefore considered to be at high risk – were randomly assigned to daily nicotinamide or placebo for 12 months. The study population reflected the mix of patients typically seen in a skin cancer clinic – the average age was 66 years, and two-thirds of the patients were men (skin cancer is more common in men).

The rates of new non-melanoma skin cancer diagnoses were 23 percent lower in the nicotinamide group compared to the placebo group. The numbers of precancerous thick, scaly patches of skin were reduced in the nicotinamide group by 11 percent after three months, and by 20 percent after nine months of treatment.

The most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, which rarely spreads but often occur on the face, and squamous cell carcinoma, which can spread to lymph nodes and internal organs. The primary cause of these skin cancers is sun exposure. Nicotinamide was just as effective in preventing both of these types of skin cancers.

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