Coalition Urges FDA for Action on Sunscreens

A new coalition of dermatologists, skin cancer advocacy and research groups, and sunscreen manufacturers are banding together to push Congress and regulatory bodies to take long-awaited action on sunscreen regulations. The Public Access to Sunscreen Coalition (PASS) is urging the FDA to make due on its promises to streamline the process for sunscreen ingredients. The group is also advocating for Congress to pass the Sunscreen Innovation Act, which would give the FDA a timeline for acting on sunscreen applications.

Exposure to Indoor Tanning Linked to Early Development of BCC

Early exposure to indoor tanning increases the risk of early development of BCC, according to new research. In a population-based study, investigators obtained data on indoor tanning in 657 cases of BBB and 452 controls less than 50 years of age. They found that early-onset BCC was indeed related to indoor tanning, with the strongest association observed for first exposure as an adolescent or young adult, with a 10 percent increase in the odd ratio with each age younger at first exposure. In addition to early exposure to indoor tanning increasing the risk of early BCC development, the researchers note that their findings also underscore the importance of counseling adolescents and young adults about the risks of indoor tanning and for discouraging parents from consenting minors to this practice.

— Pediatrics. 2014 Jul;134(1):e4-e12.

Hawaii Becomes 10th State to Ban Indoor Tanning for Minors

Earlier this month, the state of Hawaii enacted a new law banning minors from indoor tanning. It is now the 10th state in the US to implement such a law.

Melanoma Drug Shown to Increase Patient Survival

An Australian study recently found that ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) offers similar efficacy and tolerability measures as noted in clinical trials in patients with unresectable or metastatic cutaneious, uveal, and mucosal melanoma. Researchers followed 104 patients treated with ipilimumab for a median of seven months. Median overall survival (OS) was 9.6 months, while progression-free survival (PFS) averaged three months. The one and two-year survival rates were 42 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Median OS for patients with non-cutaneous (mucosal and uveal) melanomas was almost half that of patients with cutaneous melanoma: 5.8 months versus 11.7 months. Raised absolute lymphocyte count was associated with increased PFS but not with OS. Sex, age, brain metastases, BRAF mutation status, incidence of severe immune-related AEs and baseline lactate dehydrogenase levels did not affect OS or PFS. The researchers noted that 18 patients experienced serious adverse events, including two treatment-related deaths. Thus, despite the reported efficacy, the researchers concluded that treatment should occur under the supervision of an experienced clinical team.

—Med J Aust. 2014 Jul 7;201(1):49-53.

Ask An Expert: "What Should I look for in a sunscreen?"

“Look at the active ingredients and specifically look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide since most sunscreens in this day and age have UVB blocking chemicals. Look for the UVA blocking capabilities to maximize the sunscreen. Ecamasule is an excellent UVA blocking ingredient but it's expense can limit use to just the facial region.”

—Jonathan Wolfe, MD