UVB and caffeine: inhibiting the DNA damage response to protect against the adverse effects of UVB

J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Jul;129(7):1611-3. doi: 10.1038/jid.2009.99.


The incidence of sunlight-induced skin cancer is increasing. Mouse studies indicate that caffeine, administered orally or topically, promotes apoptosis of UVB-irradiated keratinocytes. In this issue, Heffernan and colleagues identify the pathway targeted by caffeine and suggest that inhibition of this DNA damage response may offer a viable therapeutic option for nonmelanoma skin cancer. This potentially represents an important protective or therapeutic option from the most unlikely of sources: your daily coffee.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Caffeine