Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

Is There an Association Between Skin Cancer and Erectile Dysfunction Medications?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2019

Research published in Urology found no clear association between skin cancer occurrence and the use of erectile dysfunction medications. The large-scale study of U.S. veterans sought to determine the relationship between skin cancers such as malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma and the use of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor (PDE5i) medications.

“These findings suggest confounding variables are likely involved in the relationship between skin cancers and PDE5i use. PDE5i drugs remain a safe treatment for erectile dysfunction,” concluded David Preston, MD, of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and colleagues.

Researchers identified 2.55 million veterans in a retrospective database review of the Veterans Affairs Informatics and Computing Infrastructure, half of whom had received PDE5i treatment of erectile dysfunction and half of whom had not. The mean participant age was 59.2 years for the PDE5i group and 58.7 years for the non-PED5i group.

At a mean follow-up of 8.9 years, participants in the PDE5i cohort had an odds ratio of 1.25 (1.22—1.28, P < .0001) for malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Comparatively, with a mean follow-up of 8.5 years, the non-PDE5i group had an odds ratio of 1.49 (1.46—1.51, P < .0001) for malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Participants in the PDE5i group had a higher mean number of outpatients visits per year (8.9 standard deviation ± 9.50) than those in the non-PDE5i group (5.9 standard deviation ± 10.0; P < .0001).

“A direct relationship between PDE5i exposure and [malignant melanoma] is questionable based on our study results,” the investigators concluded. However, they added, “The risk of developing basal cell carcinoma of the skin appears to increase with increasing PDE5i exposure.”

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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