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A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2018 Jan 24

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-0488.18.05870-4


language: English

Antihypertensive drugs and risk of skin cancer

Nicoletta CASSANO 1 , Alessandro DI STEFANI 2, Gino A. VENA 1, Ketty PERIS 2

1 Dermatology and Venereology Private Practice, Bari and Barletta, Italy; 2 Institute of Dermatology, Catholic University of Rome, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli, Rome, Italy


The potential carcinogenic risk of antihypertensive drugs has been examined in several studies that reported controversial results. The association between treatment with antihypertensives and risk of skin cancer has also been questioned, considering the longterm administration of such drugs and the ability of some agents to cause photosensitive reactions. In fact, experimental and epidemiologic findings suggest a link between druginduced photosensitivity and skin cancer, possibly through the induction of DNA damage in predisposed individuals. Antihypertensive medications might influence skin homeostasis through additional mechanisms. For instance, some antihypertensive drugs can affect epidermal differentiation by interfering with calcium or sodium channels in the skin. Mediators in the reninangiotensin system (RAS) are also involved in the modulation of cellular proliferation and angiogenesis. Of note, the existence of RAS has been recognized in many organs and tissues, including the skin. The available data regarding the relationship between use of different types of antihypertensives and skin cancer risk do not allow to draw definite conclusions at present. The aim of this article is to summarize the current evidence about the association of antihypertensive use with risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer, melanoma, lip cancer and cutaneous lymphoma. A brief mention of the role of betablockers in melanoma progression has also been added.

KEY WORDS: Skin cancer - Melanoma - Antihypertensives - Diuretics

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Publication History

Article first published online: January 24, 2018
Manuscript accepted: January 11, 2018
Manuscript received: November 28, 2017

Cite this article as

Cassano N, Di Stefani A, Vena GA, Peris K. Antihypertensive drugs and risk of skin cancer. G Ital Dermatol Venereol 2018 Jan 24. DOI: 10.23736/S0392-0488.18.05870-4

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