Current Cardiology Reports

, 21:92 | Cite as

Do Thiazide Diuretics Increase the Risk of Skin Cancer? A Critical Review of the Scientific Evidence and Updated Meta-Analysis

  • Benedetta Bendinelli
  • Giovanna Masala
  • Giuseppe Garamella
  • Domenico Palli
  • Saverio CainiEmail author
Hypertension (DS Geller and DL Cohen, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Hypertension


Purpose of Review

We reviewed the hypothesised mechanisms of skin cancerogenesis for thiazide diuretics; conducted an updated meta-analysis of studies focusing on their association with skin cancer risk; critically appraised the quality of available studies and identified knowledge gaps; and discussed implications for health professionals and patients.

Recent Findings

Thiazide diuretics possess well-described photosensitizing properties and a causal association with skin cancer is biologically plausible. The epidemiological evidence is stronger for squamous cell cancer; however, diversity in design among studies, methodological concerns potentially affecting the validity of results, and scarcity of data on dose-relation relationship suggest caution in drawing conclusions. Only few, unbalanced, and/or heterogeneous data exist to date for melanoma and basal cell cancer.


Patients effectively treated with thiazide diuretics are currently not advised to stop treatment, but encouraged to limit exposure to sunlight and regularly check their skin. While endorsing these recommendations, we believe that well-designed studies are urgently needed to overcome persistent knowledge gaps.


Thiazide diuretics Cutaneous melanoma Basal cell cancer Squamous cell cancer Risk Review 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Benedetta Bendinelli, Giovanna Masala, Giuseppe Garamella, Domenico Palli, and Saverio Caini declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benedetta Bendinelli
    • 1
  • Giovanna Masala
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Garamella
    • 2
  • Domenico Palli
    • 1
  • Saverio Caini
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Cancer Risk Factors and Lifestyle Epidemiology UnitInstitute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network (ISPRO)FlorenceItaly
  2. 2.School of Specialization in Hygiene and Preventive MedicineUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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