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Calcineurin Inhibitors, Phototherapy Do Not Increase Risk for Certain Cancers

No increased risk seen for lymphoma, skin cancer with topical calcineurin inhibitor, phototherapy use for vitiligo

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | May 19, 2021

For patients with vitiligo, the risk for lymphoma or skin cancer is not increased with topical calcineurin inhibitor or phototherapy use, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Hyun Jeong Ju, M.D., from The Catholic University of Korea in Seoul, and colleagues conducted a multicenter, retrospective cohort study involving 25,694 patients with vitiligo who received topical calcineurin inhibitors or phototherapy for six weeks or more between 2001 and 2019. The development of lymphoma or skin cancer after enrollment was examined and confirmed through chart review and pathology reports.

The researchers observed 13 cases of lymphoma, 22 of actinic keratosis, 15 of nonmelanoma skin cancer, and five of melanoma during 95,203 person-years. There was no significant increase noted in the risk for lymphoma or skin cancer by topical calcineurin inhibitor dose or phototherapy sessions. No correlation was seen for the interaction between topical calcineurin inhibitors and phototherapy with an increased risk for skin cancer.

"To our knowledge we provide the first analysis of the long-term safety of topical calcineurin inhibitor use and phototherapy in a vitiligo cohort, and our data should serve as a valuable reference for clinical practice and future studies," the authors write.

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