MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Maryam M. Asgari, MD, MPH
Department of Dermatology
Massachusetts General Hospital,
Department of Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente
Northern California, Oakland
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Laboratory studies show lithium, an activator of the Wnt/ß-catenin signaling pathway, slows melanoma progression, but no published epidemiologic studies have explored this association. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adult white Kaiser Permanente Northern California members (n=2,213,848) from 1997-2012 to examine the association between lithium use and melanoma risk.
Our main finding is that lithium-exposed individuals had a reduced incidence of melanoma, did not develop very thick tumors (> 4 mm Breslow depth) or extensive disease at presentation, and had decreased melanoma-specific mortality compared to unexposed individuals suggesting a possible role for lithium in altering melanoma risk.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Our findings suggest lithium may reduce melanoma risk and associated mortality.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Our recommendation is that lithium, a relatively inexpensive and readily available drug, warrants further study in melanoma.
Conflicts of interest:
Dr. Maryam Asgari and Dr. Charles Quesenberry have each served as an investigator for studies funded by Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer Inc, but this association has not influenced their work on this paper. The remaining authors state no conflict of interest.
This research was supported by the National Cancer Institute (R01CA166672). The sponsors had no role in the design and conduct of the study; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; or the preparation, review or approval of the manuscript.
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Association between lithium use and melanoma risk and mortality: A population-based study.
Asgari MM1, Chien AJ2, Tsai AL3, Fireman B3, Quesenberry CP Jr3.
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