Risk of skin cancer in patients with vitiligo

Patients with vitiligo have a decreased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, a study suggests

Vitiligo: Patients may have a lower risk of skin cancer (Photograph: John F Wilson MD/SPL)
Vitiligo: Patients may have a lower risk of skin cancer (Photograph: John F Wilson MD/SPL)

Researchers found that patients with vitiligo had a three times lower chance of developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer compared with patients without the condition. They also found that in patients treated with phototherapy, the risk was not increased.

The retrospective, comparative cohort study, which took place in the Netherlands, asked patients with non-segmental vitilgo aged 50 years or over to take part in a postal survey.

The survey asked questions on vitiligo characteristics, history of phototherapy and skin cancer history. The patients' partners were asked to fill in a control questionnaire. A total of 2,635 invitations were sent out and 1,307 eligible questionnaires were used in the analysis.

Teulings HE, Overkamp M, Ceylan E et al. Br J Dermatol 2013; 168: 162-71

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