Vitamin B3 therapy may help prevent melanoma in those at greatest risk of developing the deadly skin cancer.
In a paper published in the journal Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Sydney, Dr Gary Halliday, calls for the the vitamin to be investigated as a low cost way of preventing the disease in high risk individuals.
He says nicotinamide, other wise known as Vitamin B3, enhances DNA repair and reduces inflammation caused by ultraviolet radiation.
"Nicotinamide has been shown in a clinical trial called ONTRAC to reduce the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer in high-risk individuals and it would be worthwhile to determine whether it would also be useful for high-risk melanoma patients," Dr Halliday wrote.
Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer in Australia.
Terry Slevin is the Education & Research Director for Cancer Council Western Australia says they'd welcome such a clinical trial.
But he says its important to await the outcome of any trial before recommending B3 as a means of preventing skin cancer.
Until Vitamin B3 trials can be conducted and reported, expanding the SunSmart message should be the focus of prevention.
"There is strong evidence of a reduction in melanoma rates in the under 40 population in Australia, suggesting early skin cancer prevention efforts are having a measurable success in the generation who grew up with 'slip slop slap'", Mr Slevin said.