The Melanoma Letter Spring 2016, Vol. 34, No. 1

With skin cancer incidence ever rising, and often exorbitant costs involved in managing the disease (especially for advanced skin cancers), the need for effective chemopreventive agents is greater than ever. In this issue of The Melanoma Letter, Drs. Diona Damian, Andrew Martin and Gary Halliday explore an exciting new form of chemoprevention for both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. Research by Dr. Damian and colleagues has shown that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, not only reduces the immunosuppressive effects of UV radiation, but enhances DNA repair after UV damage by replenishing the cellular energy expended in those repairs. Damian, et al’s studies have proven that nicotinamide can significantly reduce recurrences of actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in patients with a history of these lesions, and their early findings suggest that it may produce similar beneficial results in melanoma patients. The authors consider these early findings promising enough to recommend proceeding to clinical trials, especially with immunocompromised individuals and those with a substantial history of skin cancer, who to date have benefited most from nicotinamide treatment. Easy to administer, low-cost, with a proven mechanism of action and few to no side effects, nicotinamide offers great promise as a way of keeping high-risk skin cancer patients from ever having advanced disease.