Skin cancer is the most common cancer in human beings. The increased incidence of skin cancer has brought much attention to the process by which these tumors develop and how they can be prevented. Efforts have been made to educate the public about the importance of protecting skin from excessive ultraviolet light. Despite this work, the incidence of skin cancer continues to increase. Available compounds may be useful in the chemoprevention of skin cancer. Chemoprevention is defined as oral or topical use of dietary or pharmacologic agents to inhibit or reverse the development of cancer. Potential agents included are the retinoids; difluoromethylornithine; T4 endonuclease V; polyphenolic antioxidants, such as (-)-epigallocatechin gallate, found in green tea and grape seed extract; silymarin; isoflavone genestein; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; curcumin; lycopene; vitamin E; beta-carotene; and selenium. Many of these agents are available over the counter as topical or oral preparations.
Learning objective: At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be familiar with the chemopreventive agents and their efficacy, as well as any significant side effects associated with them.