Celebrex May Slow, Prevent Skin Cancers
Study Shows High-Risk Patients Had Fewer Basal Cell Cancers After Taking Celebrex
WebMD News Archive
Study Ended Early Amid Vioxx Concerns continued...
The treatment arm of the trial was stopped in 2004 in response to concerns
raised by the Vioxx studies. Nevertheless, most patients received two years of
active treatment and were followed for an additional year.
While both treatment groups continued to develop new cancers during the
study, treatment with Celebrex was associated with a 50% decrease in the growth
of skin tumors among patients who entered the trial with 15 or fewer skin
Treatment with the NSAID was also found to reduce the total number of tumors
in these patients, but not in patients with more than 15 basal cell
carcinoma-related skin lesions at study entry.
The findings appear in the January issue of the journal Cancer Prevention
New Strategy: The Hedgehog Pathway
Tang says it remains to be seen if other oral or even topical NSAIDs can
prevent or slow the growth of basal cell carcinomas and other non-melanoma skin
In an editorial published with the study, Johns Hopkins University
oncologist Charles M. Rudin, MD, PhD, writes about another promising skin
cancer prevention strategy, which targets something known as the hedgehog
"The hedgehog pathway is essentially a cell program that is turned on in
fetal development but is normally shut off in adult tissue," Rudin tells WebMD.
"But in some cancers this pathway is turned on, and basal cell carcinoma is one
of those cancers."
In early studies, Rudin and colleagues showed significant reductions in skin
lesions when patients with basal cell carcinomas took drugs designed to
inhibit, or shut off, the hedgehog pathway.
A trial is now under way in patients with Gorlin syndrome to determine if
hedgehog-inhibiting drugs prevent or slow the growth of tumors in this