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Does UVB Phototherapy Increase Risk for Skin Cancer in Patients With Eczema?

No increase seen in skin cancer, nonmelanoma skin cancer, cutaneous melanoma for those treated with UVB phototherapy

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | June 01, 2023

WEDNESDAY, May 31, 2023 -- For patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), neither ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy nor number of sessions is associated with an increased risk for skin cancer, according to a study published online May 24 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Mei-Ju Ko, M.D., Ph.D., from Taipei City Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues examined the long-term safety of UVB phototherapy in terms of cutaneous carcinogenic risk among 6,205 AD patients in a nationwide population-based cohort study from 2001 to 2018.

The researchers found that the risks for skin cancer, nonmelanoma skin cancer, and cutaneous melanoma were not increased among AD patients treated with UVB phototherapy compared with those who did not receive UVB phototherapy (adjusted hazard ratios [95 percent confidence intervals], 0.91 [0.35 to 2.35], 0.80 [0.29 to 2.26], and 0.80 [0.08 to 7.64], respectively). Furthermore, no association was seen between the number of UVB phototherapy sessions and an increased risk for skin cancer, nonmelanoma skin cancer, or cutaneous melanoma.

"Our results that UVB phototherapy does not increase the risk of skin cancer among AD patients are consistent with previously reported results from patients with psoriasis, vitiligo, and chronic kidney disease," the authors write. "Our findings confirm the safety of UVB phototherapy for AD patients and provide valuable information for clinicians and patients when choosing a treatment for AD."


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