Retinoid chemoprevention in patients at high risk for skin cancer

Published on Thursday, 05 March 2015


Patients who develop large numbers of skin cancers suffer increased morbidity and mortality. A high skin cancer risk can result from inherited disorders such as xeroderma pigmentosum (abnormal repair of UV-induced DNA damage) or the nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (tumor suppressor gene abnormality).

The efficacy of systemic retinoid skin cancer chemoprevention was first demonstrated in these disorders. Since the mechanism of cancer prevention was not thought to involve correction of the underlying defect causing the disorder, individuals at high risk for new skin cancers from other causes may also benefit from this approach.

With the success of organ transplantation, there is a growing population of transplant recipients living long, active lives who also have sustained chronic UV damage. This population is at high risk for developing aggressive squamous cell carcinomas.

In this population, extensive skin involvement with human papilloma virus induced warts and actinic keratoses results in difficulty with diagnosis and monitoring for these dangerous malignancies.

Patients who have received treatment with agents that cause DNA damage, such as X-radiation, may also have a high skin cancer risk.

Retinoid chemoprevention may also be of benefit in the management of selected patients with these iatrogenic conditions.

This evolving therapeutic role has heightened the need for the development of new retinoids, with more efficacy and less toxicity, for cancer chemoprevention.



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See also All-Trans-Retinoic Acid (ATRA - analogues and/or derivatives).