New research indicates that oral and topical agents hold promise to prevent UV-induced skin cancer.
Researchers are investigating several agents - including medicines, foods and vitamins -for their chemo preventive properties and their ability to prevent skin cancer.
At the American Academy of Dermatology's Summer Academy Meeting 2010 in Chicago, dermatologist Dr. Craig A. Elmets, professor and chair, department of dermatology, and director of the Skin Diseases Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, discussed promising new research on the use of medicine and diet to prevent UV-induced skin cancer in the future.
"Based on the research conducted thus far, it appears that several different agents have the potential to be effective in providing enhanced sun protection and preventing non-melanoma skin cancers," said Elmets.
"While the way these agents work are different, we have seen encouraging results with both oral and topical agents, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), eflornithine and certain natural antioxidants," he added.
Medications, which are being investigated, as future chemo preventive agents, are NSAIDs and eflornithine.
Elmets explained that this, NSAIDs, oral medication has been shown to be an effective chemo preventive agent in patients with a syndrome known as basal cell nevus syndrome.
Caused by a genetic defect, basal cell nevus syndrome triggers patients to develop basal cell carcinomas at a very young age.
According to Elmets, eflornithine is another drug that has been shown to have beneficial effects in preventing basal cell carcinoma.
"Although celecoxib and eflornithine work by different mechanisms, initial studies show that they both prevent basal cell carcinomas by at least 30 percent.
"Based on these initial findings, these two drugs are considered very promising as chemopreventive agents and require additional clinical study," he said.
Even natural antioxidants like Free radicals, abundance of antioxidant polyphenols in green tea and grape seed and pomegranate fruit play an important role in helping to prevent the onset and growth of skin tumours.
"These substances also have an anti-inflammatory effect, which is known to be chemopreventive. However, it is important to remember that the FDA has not approved the use of these natural antioxidants as chemopreventive agents, and controlled studies need to be conducted in humans to determine whether they may help prevent skin cancer. At present, the evidence to support these benefits is largely based on animal studies," added Elmets.