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Cancer

Link between Viagra and melanoma is weak, meta-analysis shows

A meta-analysis reveals a significant association between the use of Viagra and low-stage melanoma but the criteria for causation were not met.

Since 2014, there have been several reports linking sildenafil (Viagra), a phosphodiesterase inhibitor (PDE5i), to an increased risk of melanoma.

In a paper published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute[1] (online, 19 May 2017), researchers carried out a meta-analysis on data from three case-control studies and two cohort studies, which were carried out between 1998 and 2016, involving a total of 866,049 men.

They found that men exposed to PDE5i had an increased risk of melanoma (relative risk 1.11, 95% confidence interval 1.02–1.22). However, there was a lack of dose response or clear relationship to melanoma staging, nor was there specificity for the type of skin cancer which, the researchers say, suggests against a causal relationship.

The observed association is possibly due to confounding factors, most likely sunlight exposure, the team conclude.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2017.20203246

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