Nonmelanoma skin cancer associated with Hydroxyurea treatment: Overview of the literature and our own experience

Carmen Cantisani, Norbert Kiss, Ahmad Faiq Naqeshbandi, Giulio Tosti, Sonia Tofani, Claudio Cartoni, Ida Carmosino, Franca Cantoresi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Nonmelanoma skin cancer is the most common malignant tumor in the fair skin population, with each year several millions of diagnosed cases. Their most common risk factors are fair skin, a history of excessive ultraviolet light exposure, chronic inflammatory skin conditions, exposure to radiation, and contact with arsenic. Certain drugs can also be associated with a higher risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. These include hydroxyurea, which acts as a metabolic inhibitor of ribonucleotide reductase and a potent nonalkylating myelosuppressive agent. It is used for the treatment of various myeloproliferative disorders, including chronic myeloid leukemia, polycythemia vera, and essential thrombocytopenia. Several publications describe an increased occurrence of skin manifestations following hydroxyurea treatment. A growing body of evidence indicates a possible role of hydroxyurea in skin cancer progression. In this review article, we summarize some relevant observations about the association of hydroxyurea and skin cancer, and we describe our own clinical experiences to provide up to date recommendations about the care of patients on hydroxyurea therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13043
JournalDermatologic Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019


  • hydroxyurea treatment
  • myeloproliferative disorders
  • nonmelanoma skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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