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Viagra Melanoma

Melanoma

Study Links Viagra as a Potential Cause of Melanoma

In 2000, 25,848 men participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study regarding the possible causal link between Viagra (Sildenafil) and melanomas.  The men were determined to be cancer-free at the beginning of the study and tracked for the duration of the study.   Melanomas were subsequently found in 142 men.  The study found cancerous melanoma among the users of Viagra (Sildenafil) was 84% higher than those who did not use Viagra. In other words, Viagra users had roughly double the risk of melanoma skin cancer as non-users.

Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma skin cancer is a cancer that occurs in the body’s skin. The body naturally produces melanin within cells called melanocytes in the epidermis. These are the cells that produce brown pigment melanin. These are also the cells that can turn into a melanoma.

Melanoma is a cancer that originates within the melanocytes within the epidermis layer of the skin.  Melanoma tumors are typically black or brown, however they can also appear pink, tan, or other colors. Darker skin helps lower the risk but does not prevent the development of melanoma cancers.

Viagra History

Viagra (drug name Sildenafil) is a popular erective dysfunction medication. Originally synthesized and studied for use in hypertension treatment, the initial studies failed to show any assistance with angina but noted a change in erections. Patented in 1996, Pfizer sought FDA approval for erective dysfunction and received approval in 1998. Since 1998, Viagra has been one of the top selling drugs in the United States, sales reaching nearly $2 billion in 2008.

Viagra is a PDE5 inhibitor, which has been hypothesized to have an effect on UVB-induced melanin synthesis. PDE5 inhibitors increase cGMP levels, by protecting cGMP from PDE5 caused degradation, which in turn affect melanin synthesis. This effect on increasing melanin synthesis may be linked to how Viagra increases cancerous melanomas within the melanocytes. The study linking Viagra to melanin production may be found here.

Viagra has been shown to increase the production of melanin in studies. The study noted PDE5 inhibition resulted in additional tyrosinase expression and melanin synthesis. While the study noted this could be useful for treatment of hypopigmentation, it also provides a mechanism for how Viagra could affect melanin production and thus cause melanoma cancers.

Melanoma Stages, Prognosis and Survival Rates:

Stage 0: Melanoma in situ (Clark Level I), near 100% survival

Stage 1-2: Invasive melanoma, ~90-95% survival

  • T1a-b: Less than 1.0 mm tumor thickness, without (a) or with (b) ulceration
  • T2a: 1-2 mm tumor thickness, without ulceration

Stage 2: High risk melanoma, ~50-80% survival

  • T2b: 1-2 mm primary tumor thickness, with ulceration
  • T3a-b: 2-4mm primary tumor thickness, without (T3a) or with (T3b) ulceration
  • T4a-b: >4 mm primary tumor thickness, without (T4a) or with (T4b) ulceration

Stage 3: Regional metastasis, ~25% survival

  • N1: One positive lymph node
  • N2: Two to three positive lymph nodes orregional skin metastasis
  • N3: Four positive lymph nodes or positive lymph node(s) plus regional skin metastasis

Stage IV: Distant metastasis, ~10-20% survival

  • M1a: Distant skin metastasis, no elevated LD
  • M1b: Lung metastasis, no elevated LD
  • M1c: Other distant metastasis or distant metastasis with elevated LD

 Viagra Melanoma lawsuit

Levin Simes currently represents those who have a Viagra-caused melanoma and has filed Viagra melanoma lawsuits on their behalf. If you would like to receive a free consultation regarding your potential Viagra melanoma lawsuit, contact the attorneys at Levin Simes at (415) 426-3000 or by email to info@levinsimes.com.