No evidence for increased skin cancer risk in psoriasis patients treated with broadband or narrowband UVB phototherapy: a first retrospective study

Acta Derm Venereol. 2004;84(5):370-4. doi: 10.1080/00015550410026948.


Phototherapy of skin diseases such as psoriasis is an effective and safe treatment modality. However, increasing the risk of skin cancer by phototherapy is a serious concern. An increased skin cancer risk occurs after prolonged photochemotherapy (PUVA). In contrast, the role of broadband UVB or narrowband UVB therapy in skin carcinogenesis of humans with psoriasis is less clear. Therefore, we investigated the incidence of skin tumours in a total of 195 psoriasis patients, receiving broadband (n=69) or narrowband (n=126) UVB from 1994 to 2000 with follow-up until 2003. Data were raised from the regional interdisciplinary cancer centre of the University of Tuebingen, Germany and compared with the tumour incidences given for the German population. In this study, with 80% statistical power to detect a 6-7-fold increase in skin cancer with broadband UVB and 83% power to detect a 5-6-fold increase with narrow band UVB at p=0.05, only one patient developed skin cancer - an in situ melanoma. The tumour occurred within the same year that phototherapy was initiated. Thus, the present study does not provide evidence for an increased skin cancer risk for patients treated with either broadband or narrowband UVB phototherapy

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma in Situ / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / methods