High-risk skin cancer patients treated with a celecoxib, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), experience fewer tumors, according to the results of a study published in Cancer Prevention Research.

Background information provided in the press release announcing the findings explained that the study population—people with a condition called Gorlin syndrome—typically develop hundred or even thousands of basal cell carcinomas during their lifetime.

The study, led by Ervin Epstein Jr, MD, senior scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, California, focused on 60 patients with basal cell carcinoma were randomized to receive either 200 mg of oral celecoxib 2 times a day or placebo.

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The results revealed that celecoxib use was found to be effective in inhibiting the development of basal call carcinomas in patients who are highly-susceptible to carcinoma. Patients who received placebo had a 50% increase in basal cell carcinoma per year compared with a 20% increase among those who received celecoxib.

“The underlying idea is if we can find something in these high-risk patients that could be translatable to the ‘normal’ population, then we could ultimately use that form of chemoprevention to reduce the number of skin cancer in all people,” Dr Epstein stated.