Skin cancer history linked to other cancers

April 30, 2013

Patients who have had nonmelanoma skin cancer are at a greater risk of contracting a secondary cancer at another site, researchers have found.

 

Patients who have had nonmelanoma skin cancer are at a greater risk of contracting a secondary cancer at another site, researchers have found.

Investigators with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, conducted a prospective study using data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study, following 46,237 men from June 1986 to June 2008 and 107,339 women from June 1984 to June 2008, according to a news release. Researchers identified 36,102 new cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) and 29,447 other cases of primary cancers.

A history of NMSC was significantly associated with a 15 percent higher risk of additional primary cancers in men, and a 26 percent higher risk of other primary cancers in women, researchers found.

After eliminating melanoma from the analysis, a history of NMSC was associated with an 11 percent higher risk of other cancers in men and a 20 percent higher risk of additional cancers in women. Researchers noted that a history of NMSC was linked to breast and lung cancers in women, and an increased risk of melanoma in men and women.

“These data support a need for continued investigation of the potential mechanisms underlying this relationship,” Jiali Han, Ph.D., BWH department of dermatology, is quoted as saying.

The results were published online April 23 in PLOS Medicine.