Viagra And Growth Of Melanoma Cells

Viagra And Growth Of Melanoma Cells Image
Viagra And Growth Of Melanoma Cells

Viagra And Growth Of Melanoma Cells

Viagra is one of the most frequently consumed over-the-counter drug that is very popular in males to overcome the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. It has been in use since 1990s and is considered as a safe and potent drug. However, according to a new study Viagra intake may lead to the growth of melanoma cells.

Researchers found that chemical pathway of this phosphodiesterase inhibitor drug is linked to the signaling pathway of melanoma cells and prolong use may lead to skin tumor in males. The findings of this research study are published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Reports.

How Does Viagra Promote The Growth Of Melanoma Cells?

Diabetes, Viagra And Cardiac Disease Risk Image

Phosphodiesterase inhibitors are a group of drugs that exert their action by increasing the flow of blood to the penis. This action is mediated by inhibition if an enzyme (phosphodiesterase) that is responsible for the breakdown of a signaling molecule cGMP or cyclic guanosine monophosphate. This signaling molecule in turn control the activity and functioning of severalorgans and tissues like the heart, brain cells, blood vessel cells, and sensory cells. The team of German scientists discovered that melanoma cells also utilize cGMP for their growth and multiplication. In other words, increasing the availability of cGMP may have a facilitating effect on the melanoma cell growth cycle.

Is There Any Evidence That Links Viagra Use To Increased Risk Of Malignancy?

Although, the theoretical explanation very well explain how Viagra may aggravate the risk of developing the malignancy, there is no proof that melanoma occur more frequently in Viagra users. Some older studies have presented some explanation that men with existing malignant melanoma may experience worsening of symptoms with Sildenafil use. But none of these studies were able to pinpoint the pathophysiology of melanoma formation to that of Viagra use. In fact, according to several other studies, Viagra use has a positive influence on restricting the growth of some other tumors.

Therefore, at this point, it is safe to say that more research is needed to determine if there is a connection between Viagra use and risk of developing melanoma. Nevertheless, the lead investigator Prof. Feil urged that melanoma patients should consult with their primary care provider before starting Viagra use. Some other interventions that may also help in reducing the risk are:

  • Limiting exposure to the sun
  • Using a UV protector when you are outdoors
  • Limiting the use of tanning beds or sunbathing vacations

References

  • Li, W. Q., Qureshi, A. A., Robinson, K. C., & Han, J. (2014). Sildenafil use and increased risk of incident melanoma in US men: a prospective cohort study. JAMA internal medicine, 174(6), 964-970.
  • Loeb, S., Folkvaljon, Y., Lambe, M., Robinson, D., Garmo, H., Ingvar, C., & Stattin, P. (2015). Use of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors for erectile dysfunction and risk of malignant melanoma. Jama, 313(24), 2449-2455.