Vitamin-B3 derivative may cut risk of new skin cancers by 23%

cancer explained

New research indicates taking an oral vitamin-B3 derivative, nicotinamide, may help prevent the recurrence of non-melanoma skin cancers.

According to new Australian research, the ONTRAC study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, taking an oral vitamin-B3 derivative, nicotinamide, may help prevent non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) in high risk patients.

The randomised placebo controlled study showed a 23% reduction in the recurrence of NMSCs.

The nicotinamide product, Insolar, used in the one-year study was developed by Blackmores.

According to the study, the formulation was well-tolerated. The researchers reported the reduction in skin cancers seemed to start at the first three month visit, but when people stopped taking the vitamin after 12 months, the benefit was no longer seen.

The most common types of NMSC are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCCs can metastasise or spread to lymph nodes and internal organs. BCCs rarely spread but can cause significant cosmetic problems as they often occur on the face.

In this study nicotinamide had comparable efficacy in reducing the incidence of both BCCs and SCCs.

The study randomised almost 400 study participants (average age 66 years), who had at least two NMSCs in the last five years (participants had an average of eight NMSCs), to nicotinamide 500 mg, taken as a twice-daily pill, or a placebo for 12 months.

The researchers expressed hope in the research being translated to clinical practice, cautioning that people at high risk of skin cancer still need to practice sun-safe behaviour, use sunscreens and have regular check-ups with their doctor.

ONTRAC was an NHMRC funded study that received no commercial funding.

Read the full study by clicking HERE.

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