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Widely used arthritis pill protects against skin cancer
Date:12/2/2010

e and back of the neck. These come about from too much time in the sun and are prone to progress to skin cancer.

Half of the study participants received a 200 mg capsule of celecoxib twice daily and the other half were given placebo. Patients were evaluated at three, six and nine months, at which point treatment was completed, and again at 11 months, for the presence of new actinic keratoses, basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. Patients receiving celecoxib saw marked reductions in both cancers.

While COX-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib have beneficial effects, they are also associated with increased risk for cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects. In this trial researchers found no significant difference in the incidence of gastrointestinal disease, such as gastrointestinal hemorrhage or ulceration, in the two groups, nor did they observe a significant increase in cardiovascular adverse events, such as chest pain or heart attack, in patients who took celecoxib. The most commonly reported side effects included gastrointestinal disorders (12 percent) and infections (13 percent).

Study participants took celecoxib for nine months, but increases in serious cardiovascular adverse events associated with the use of some COX-2 inhibitors do not typically occur until patients have taken the medication for a year or more.

Authors believe there are several possible mechanisms by which COX-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib might slow or stop the progression of pre-cancerous cells to full-fledged tumors. COX-2 inhibitors may have an effect on the ability of non-melanoma skin cancers to grow and thrive. They may also suppress or weaken the cancer's ability to invade surrounding tissue and spread from the initial site to other parts of the body. Finally, this class of drugs may have an anti-inflammatory effect on skin cancer development.

Because the regular application of sunscreen provides only moderate prot
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Contact: Emily Boynton
emily_boynton@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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