Oral nicotinamide: The role in skin cancer chemoprevention

Serena Giacalone, Cristina B. Spigariolo, Paolo Bortoluzzi, Gianluca Nazzaro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The incidence of skin cancer has gradually increased in the last years and exposition to ultraviolet radiation remains the main risk factor. We performed a comprehensive review on the role of nicotinamide (NAM) in the chemoprevention of skin cancers. NAM, a water-soluble form of vitamin B3, interferes with skin carcinogenesis as it regulates immunosuppressor genes such as p53 and sirtuins and restores intracellular level of NAD+, a co-enzyme essential for energy production. Efficacy and safety of NAM was evaluated in a Phase III double-blinded control-placebo study (ONTRAC), thus demonstrating that the incidence of actinic keratoses and non-melanoma skin cancers was lower in the nicotinamide group than in placebo group. Further studies showed the efficacy of NAM also in transplanted patients and among inhabitants living in arsenic contamination areas. Despite the quick response to NAM supplementation, its intake need to be carried on chronically as the efficacy seems to vanish rapidly.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14892
JournalDermatologic Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • melanoma
  • nicotinamide
  • non-melanoma
  • oral supplementation
  • skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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