Cosmetic Surgery Today

Plastic Surgery News, Costs of Cosmetic Surgery and Elective Procedures Blog

Retinoid Creams Not Linked to Early Death

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on January 29, 2009

creamAn article published in the latest issue of the Archives of Dermatology indicates that retinoid cream made with tretinoin, a topical ointment often prescribed to patients with acne and other skin problems, may have been linked to certain types of cancer, and even premature death.

Researchers wanted to test the efficacy of retinoid compounds on participants who had died, or were suffering from cancer.  The original studies indicate that tretinoin compounds in the creams were linked to some cases of malignant cancer, and those who are suffering from skin conditions because of a weakened immune system may have been putting themselves even more at risk for premature death by using these highly potent creams on a regular basis.

A total of 1,131 patients were selected for the study, and assigned either a cream containing 0.1 percent tretinoin or an unmedicated cream as a placebo.  They were required to apply the cream to their face and ears every day during the study period, and were then evaluated and examined by a dermatologist. In the treatment group, 15 patients died of non-small cell lung cancer, 12 died from vascular disorders and 15 died from respiratory and chest disorders.

However, researchers conclude that some of these deaths may have been the result of smoking that produces additional health risks; when the study was conducted in late 2004, the researchers did not take age, smoking and other illnesses into consideration  (Source:

Still, some reserachers contend that even though there is not a direct correlation between tretinoin and increased deaths, the study suggests tretinoin may play a role the development of cancer.

Medical News Today recently reported on this issue, pointing out that the Veterans Affairs Topical Tretinoni Chemoprevention (VATTC) Trial that  assessed the outcomes of the high-dose retinoid treatment study found there was not enough supportive evidence of the data and further investigation was needed in order to determine if topical tretinoin is in fact, linked to premature deaths.


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