Study Suggests Common Drug (Dopamine) Could Be Used to Prevent Certain Squamous Cell Skin Cancers

New data published by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC--James) suggests that an oral drug currently used in the clinical setting to treat neuromuscular diseases could also help prevent a common form of skin cancer caused by damage from ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation from the sun. While this data was gathered from preclinical studies, senior author Sujit Basu, MD, PhD, says preliminary results in animal models are very promising and worthy of immediate further investigation through phase I human studies. Dr. Basu and his colleagues reported their initial findings online on April 12, 2021 in Cancer Prevention Research a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. The article is titled “Dopamine Prevents Ultraviolet B-Induced Development and Progression of Premalignant Cutaneous Lesions Through Its D2 Receptors” ( According to the American Cancer Society, more than 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed annually in the United States. The disease typically recurs throughout a person’s lifetime, and advanced disease can lead to physical disfiguration. These cancers are linked to the sun’s damaging rays, and despite increased public awareness on sun safety precautions, rates of the disease have been increasing for many years. Previous peer-reviewed, published studies have shown that dopamine receptors play a role in the development of cancerous tumors; however, their role in precancerous lesions is unknown.
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