Actinic keratosis patients who receive the drug develop fewer cancers

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 (Last Updated: 12/01/2010)

TUESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitor celecoxib appears to be an effective chemopreventive agent for nonmelanoma skin cancers in patients who have extensive actinic damage and are at high risk for the cancers, according to research published online Nov. 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Craig A. Elmets, M.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial at eight U.S. academic medical centers between Jan. 18, 2001, and Nov. 3, 2006. The trial included 240 patients with actinic keratoses, the premalignant precursor of nonmelanoma skin cancers. One group received 200 mg doses of celecoxib, administered orally twice daily for nine months, and the other group received a placebo.

The researchers found that the incidence of actinic keratoses between the two groups at nine months was the same. However, by the 11th month, the mean number of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the celecoxib group was only 0.14 per patient, versus 0.35 per control. After adjustments for demographic and other factors, the number of nonmelanoma skin cancers, basal cell carcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas was lower in the celecoxib group. Serious and cardiovascular adverse effects were similar between the groups. The FDA terminated the study after preliminary data from another trial showed an association between another cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitor and cardiovascular adverse events.

"Cyclooxygenase inhibitors may provide an additional benefit to sunscreens in the prevention of nonmelanoma skin cancers," the authors write.

Study authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
OBGYN & Women's Health
Family Practice
Internal Medicine

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