Associations of thiazide use with skin cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Shih Chieh Shao, Chien Cheng Lai, Yi Hung Chen, Edward Chia Cheng Lai, Ming Jui Hung, Ching Chi Chi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Previous findings on the associations of thiazide use with skin cancers were conflicting. This study aimed to examine the associations of individual thiazide use with skin cancer risk, differentiated by subtypes of skin cancers, geographic regions, and cumulative doses of individual thiazides. Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for relevant studies on January 5, 2022, scanned the references of included studies, and consulted experts. We included case-control and cohort studies or randomized trials reporting the associations of individual thiazide or thiazide-like diuretics use with skin cancers. Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) and melanoma were analysed separately. A random-effects model meta-analysis was conducted for pooled odds ratio (OR) and hazard ratio (HR) for skin cancers related to individual thiazide use. Results: We included 15, 5, and 5 case-control or cohort studies reporting the risk for skin cancers associated with hydrochlorothiazide, bendroflumethiazide, and indapamide use, respectively, with 17,848,313 participants. The meta-analysis showed associations of hydrochlorothiazide use with increased risk of NMSC (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.08–1.24; HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.04–1.54), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.06–1.65; HR 1.61, 95% CI 0.97–2.67), and melanoma (OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.02–1.20; HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.93–1.14). The increased risks for SCC were associated with high cumulative doses of hydrochlorothiazide (OR 2.56, 95% CI 1.43–4.57; HR 1.20, 95% CI 1.00–1.45). Hydrochlorothiazide use was associated with different subtypes of melanoma including superficial spreading (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.05–1.33), nodular (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.08–1.39), and lentigo maligna melanoma (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.08–1.65). Various cumulative doses of hydrochlorothiazide were associated with increased odds for melanoma. However, the associations of hydrochlorothiazide use with increased risk of NMSC and melanoma only appeared in non-Asian countries. No meaningful increase in the risk for skin cancers was associated with bendroflumethiazide and indapamide. Conclusions: Hydrochlorothiazide is associated with an increased risk for NMSC (especially SCC) and melanoma in non-Asian countries, whereas bendroflumethiazide and indapamide are not associated with a meaningful risk for skin cancers. Healthcare professionals and patients should be informed of the different risk profiles of skin cancers associated with different thiazides, cumulative doses, and regions. Trial registration: PROSPERO CRD42021234317.

Original languageEnglish
Article number228
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Bendroflumethiazide
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Indapamide
  • Melanoma
  • Meta-analysis
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Systematic review
  • Thiazides


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