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Celecoxib Effective for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

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Molemeasurement.jpgRecent results, just published last week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, indicate that treatment with the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib resulted in a 62% reduction in non-melanoma skin cancers, the most common cancers.   

After adjusting for age, sex, Fitzpatrick skin type, history of actinic keratosis at randomization, non-melanoma skin cancer history and patient time on study, the number of non-melanoma skin cancers was lower in the celecoxib arm than in the placebo arm (RR = 0.41, 95% CI = 0.23 to 0.72, P = .002) as were the number of basal cell carcinomas (RR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.18 to 0.93, P = .032) and squamous cell carcinomas (RR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.19 to 0.93, P = .032).

Importantly, there was no significant difference between the number and extent of cardiovascular side effects between the placebo and treated group. This is an interesting study and offers some hope for the development of a chemopreventive approach for non-melanoma skin cancer.  

The reduction in skin cancer incidence in this study was much greater than that seen with the use of sunscreen. One of the investigators (Pentland) had already shown that COX-2 appears to play a role in sunlight-induced skin cancers.

We have known for a couple of decades that non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin and other NSAIDs) reduce the risk for colorectal cancer and possibly other cancers. Recent evidence supports the reduction in risk for colorectal cancer in long-term NSAID users as well.  

Celecoxib is a drug that is widely used for treatment of symptoms associated with arthritis and has been studied extensively in several pre-clinical cancer models. It is effective in reducing tumor burden.  

Results from this recent skin study are exciting and I wonder if it means that future sunscreen lotions could be developed that might contain COX-2 inhibitors?

1 Comment

I'm not sure what this article is saying. Is celebrex used for preventative or treatment of squamous cell cancers? Would this apply to squamous cell cancer of the tongue as well?

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