Chemoprevention of human skin cancer

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2002 Mar;41(3):269-85. doi: 10.1016/s1040-8428(01)00185-8.


The incidence of skin cancer has been rising in recent years with significant effects on public health. Primary prevention has proven inadequate in impacting the incidence of skin cancer, thus stimulating the development of chemopreventive strategies. The majority of skin cancer chemoprevention studies focus on occurrence of new nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSC) in individuals with a previous NMSC, or on reduction in the number of premalignant skin lesions such as actinic keratoses (AK). Dysplastic nevi, a likely precursor of melanoma, are also potential targets for chemoprevention strategies. Premalignant lesions are especially attractive as endpoints since they are more common than frank cancer, resulting in reduced sample size, length, and cost of clinical trials. Development of new agents that affect the pathogenesis of skin cancer will be discussed, from elucidation of molecular targets to implementation of trials designed to determine the effects of chemopreventive interventions on human skin cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Radiation-Protective Agents