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A Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Nicotinamide for Skin-Cancer Chemoprevention
New England Journal of Medicine
October 22, 2015
Nonmelanoma skin cancers, such as basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma, are common cancers that are caused principally by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) has been shown to have protective effects against damage caused by UV radiation and to reduce the rate of new premalignant actinic keratoses...In this phase 3, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, we randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, 386 participants who had had at least two nonmelanoma skin cancers in the previous 5 years to receive 500 mg of nicotinamide twice daily or placebo for 12 months. Participants were evaluated by dermatologists at 3-month intervals for 18 months...At 12 months, the rate of new nonmelanoma skin cancers was lower by 23% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4 to 38) in the nicotinamide group than in the placebo group (P=0.02). Similar differences were found between the nicotinamide group and the placebo group with respect to new basal-cell carcinomas (20% [95% CI, −6 to 39] lower rate with nicotinamide, P=0.12) and new squamous-cell carcinomas (30% [95% CI, 0 to 51] lower rate, P=0.05)...Oral nicotinamide was safe and effective in reducing the rates of new nonmelanoma skin cancers and actinic keratoses in high-risk patients.