(HealthDay News) — Oral nicotinamide (vitamin B3) treatment does reduce the risk of keratinocyte cancers or actinic keratoses in organ transplant recipients, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study enrolled organ transplant recipients who had been diagnosed with at least 2 keratinocyte cancers in the past 5 years. The patients were randomly assigned to receive 500 mg of nicotinamide (n=79) or placebo (n=79) twice daily for 12 months in a phase 3 trial.

Dermatologists examined participants for skin lesions every 3 months for 12 months. The trial was stopped early due to poor recruitment.

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At 12 months, there were 207 new keratinocyte cancers in the nicotinamide group and 210 such cancers in the placebo group (rate ratio, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.8-1.3; P =.96).

Squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma counts, actinic keratosis counts, and quality-of-life scores did not differ significantly between the groups. The groups also had similar adverse events and changes in blood or urine variables.

“Although the trial was stopped early owing to poor recruitment, the interpretation of the results is straightforward: nicotinamide lacks clinical usefulness in preventing the development of keratinocyte carcinomas in solid organ transplant recipients,” authors of a related editorial wrote.

Several study authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including Blackmores Pty Ltd., which donated tablets for the trial.

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