People with atopic dermatitis do not appear to be at greater risk for actinic keratosis or basal cell and squamous cell cancer, according to a recent population-based, cross-sectional study.
“This is the first study to examine the association between atopic dermatitis and actinic keratosis [AK]. Our findings suggest that within a population-based sample, atopic dermatitis patients do not have more AKs than the rest of the population. Patients with atopic dermatitis were not found to have more AKs or keratotic cancers [basal or squamous cell cancers]. Moreover, individuals with atopic dermatitis seem to be less likely to develop multiple AKs,” said Dr. Enes Hajdarbegovic and his associates of the Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The study is part of an ongoing, prospective, Dutch population-based cohort study that follows people in a district of Rotterdam since 1990. There are now 14,926 participants in the database. The current study included 4,375 participants who had undergone full body skin examinations; 56% of patients were female, and the mean age was 68 years (Br J Dermatol. 2016 Jan 29. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14423).
Twenty-four percent had 1 or more AKs; 57% had 1-3 of these lesions; 23% had 4-9, and 20% had more than 10. The mean age of participants with AK was significantly higher, compared with those without AK (73 years vs. 66 years; P less than .01).
Of the 4,375 participants screened, 6.3% met the diagnostic criteria for atopic dermatitis. A lower proportion of those with atopic dermatitis had AK: 16% vs. 24%, respectively (P = .002). In a multinomial model, atopic dermatitis patients were 78% less likely to have 10 or more AKs than were those without atopic dermatitis. No effect of atopic dermatitis was found on basal cell cancer (adjusted odds ratio, 0.71) and squamous cell cancer (adjusted OR, 1.54).
The authors explained that it is already known that patients with severe atopic dermatitis exposed to ultraviolet light and immunosuppressants are at increased risk of keratinocyte malignancies. This study shows that a community-dwelling person with moderate atopic dermatitis does not develop more AKs or keratinocyte cancers.
The investigators said they had no relevant financial disclosures.