Erectile dysfunction drugs associated with increased melanoma risk

Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), the target of oral erectile dysfunction drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra), pictured, is part of a signalling pathway that is implicated in the development of malignant melanoma, according to researchers

Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), the target of oral erectile dysfunction drugs, is part of a signalling pathway that is implicated in the development of malignant melanoma.

Now, a large Swedish population-based study, published in JAMA
[1]
(2015;313(24):2449–2455), has identified a modest but statistically significant increased risk of malignant melanoma in men who have used PDE5 inhibitors, with a multivariate-adjusted odds ratio of 1.21 (95% confidence interval 1.08–1.36) versus non-use.

The risk estimates were similar for three different PDE5 inhibitors and use of the drugs was also associated with an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma, which arises through a different pathway. The latter finding, together with other results — such as the lack of association with multiple filled prescriptions — prompt the authors to query whether the association is causal.

References

[1] Loeb S, Folkvaljon Y, Lambe M et al. Use of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors for erectile dysfunction and risk of malignant melanoma. JAMA 2015;313(24):2449–2455. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.6604.

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 11 July 2015, Vol 295, No 7870;295(7870):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068847