Yet Another Prescription Drug That CAUSES Cancer

Study links widely used drug to skin cancers

Summary: A drug used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and vasculitis as well as to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients has been identified as an important contributor to skin cancer development. The research identified a ‘strong case for an association’ between the drug azathioprine and the mutational signature found in cases of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), a common form of skin cancer.

Date: September 10, 2018

Source: University of Dundee

Science Daily – A drug used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and vasculitis as well as to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients has been identified as an important contributor to skin cancer development, in a research study carried out at the University of Dundee, Queen Mary University of London and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

The research, published in Nature Communications, identified a `strong case for an association’ between the drug azathioprine and the mutational signature found in cases of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), a common form of skin cancer.

“Azathioprine is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.” – Wikipedia 

It was already known that use of azathioprine leads to increased photosensitivity to UVA light, probably contributing to development of skin cancers.

This new study finds that use of azathioprine leaves a molecular fingerprint in skin cancers, further implicating it in cSCC development.

Charlotte Proby, Professor of Dermatology in the School of Medicine at Dundee, said, “We recommend all physicians give appropriate advice on UVA avoidance including year-round sun protection for their patients on azathioprine.”

Professor Proby and colleagues said they were not necessarily advocating withdrawal of azathioprine.

“As with all medications the risks must be balanced against the benefits, particularly with the need to treat potentially life-threatening diseases with an effective drug,” she said … Read the full story at Science Daily.

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