Hydrochlorothiazide Tied to Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Risk

Dose-response association seen for basal cell and especially squamous cell carcinoma

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THURSDAY, March 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Use of the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide is associated with a substantially increased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Sidsel Arnspang Pedersen, M.D., from Odense University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues examined the association between hydrochlorothiazide use and the risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Using data from the Danish Cancer Registry (2004 to 2012), the authors identified cases with non-melanoma skin cancer and matched them by age and sex in a 1-to-20 ratio to controls. Cumulative hydrochlorothiazide use (1995 to 2012) was determined from the Danish Prescription Registry.

High use of hydrochlorothiazide (≥50,000 mg) was associated with BCC (odds ratio [OR], 1.29) and SCC (OR, 3.98). There was a clear dose-response relationship between hydrochlorothiazide use and both BCC and SCC, with the highest cumulative dose category (≥200,000 mg) having an OR of 1.54 for BCC and 7.38 for SCC. There was no association between use of other diuretics and antihypertensives and non-melanoma skin cancer.

"Hydrochlorothiazide use is associated with a substantially increased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, especially SCC," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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