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Industry Speaks Out on Study Linking Moisturizer and Cancer in Mice

Posted: January 23, 2009

A study that suggested common moisturizers may increase the rate of tumor formation in mice with a high skin cancer risk has provoked a storm within the industry. The research appears in this month’s Journal of Investigative Dermatology, along with some fierce criticisms from the manufacturers of the creams.

Original study

Run by scientists at Rutgers State University of New Jersey, the study concluded that applying a number of commercially available moisturising creams (Dermabase, Dermovan, Eucerin or Vanicream) to the skin of mice pre-treated with UVB (to make them high risk for skin cancer) increased the rate of tumor formation.

Led by Dr Yao-Ping Lu, the team radiated populations of approximately 30 mice with UVB (30mJcm-2) twice a week for 20 weeks in order to predispose them to tumor formation. After the end of the radiation period the mice were treated with 100mg of the creams, once daily, 5 days a week for 17 weeks.

The formation and size of tumors were measured throughout the study period before histological characterization of the mouse skin was performed at week 18. Although at the end of the study the number of mice with tumors was not statistically different in the treated groups in comparison to the control groups, there was a significant increase in both the rate of tumor formation and the total number of tumours.