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Niacin may have a role in melanoma prevention, suggests review

By Tim Cutcliffe

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/ Ridofranz
© iStock/ Ridofranz

Related tags Niacin

Nicotinamide, a form of niacin, may have the potential to prevent melanoma in high-risk individuals, propose authors of a review.

Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) has previously demonstrated a reduction in non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) incidence in a human trial.  The vitamin has also shown photoprotective effects against some of the mechanisms involved in melanoma development, found researchers from the University of Sydney - writing in Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine.

"Nicotinamide has been show in a clinical trial--called ONTRAC (Oral Nicotinamide to Reduce Actinic Cancer) --to reduce the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer in high-risk individuals and it would be worthwhile to determine whether it would also be useful for high-risk melanoma patients," ​commented senior author Dr Gary Halliday.

Additionally, in vitro​ studies have shown nicotinamide to reduce proliferation of melanoma cells and increase apoptosis.

Cellular studies have also shown that nicotinamide enhanced DNA repair, reduced ultra-violet (UV)-induced immunosuppression and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.

DNA damage, immunosuppression and inflammation are widely known to play a role in the induction of melanoma. These factors, combined with other in vitro​ evidence and the reductions achieved in NMSC incidence, make nicotinamide a promising prospect in future human trials for melanoma protection.

“Based on current clinical evidence of the use of nicotinamide in NMSC and early in vitro studies conducted with melanocytes and melanoma cells, randomized placebo controlled trials are now warranted to determine the efficacy and safety of nicotinamide for melanoma prevention in high risk patients,” ​advocates Halliday.

Inhibits melanoma proliferation in cell studies

Additionally, nicotinamide inhibited an important characteristic of aggressive melanoma cell lines known as vascular mimicry; which describes the ability of tumour cells to establish blood vessels similar to non-malignant healthy cells.

Such inhibitory properties, although currently only demonstrated in cellular studies, might be helpful in slowing the proliferation of more aggressive forms of melanoma, suggest the researchers.

Nicotinamide is also well tolerated and cheap (around €9 per month) at the suggested 1 gram per day recommended dose.

“Chemopreventive strategies for skin carcinogenesis are extremely important, especially in the face of aging populations and increasing rates of melanoma and NMSC worldwide. Nicotinamide is a promising and. well-tolerated chemopreventive agent for patients at high risk of developing NMSC,” ​concluded the researchers.


Source:   Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine

Published online ahead of print.    doi: 10.1111/phpp.12328

“Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer chemoprevention: a role for nicotinamide?”

Authors: Rashi Minocha, Diona L. Damian and Gary M. Halliday

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