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Hard facts: Viagra might give you skin cancer

The popular erectile dysfunction (ED) drug Viagra not only helps boost a man’s performance in the bedroom, but also can spike the growth of skin cancer, according to a recent study.

sex and relationships Updated: Mar 13, 2016 13:42 IST
The scientists reached this conclusion through animal experiments and human cell cultures.
The scientists reached this conclusion through animal experiments and human cell cultures.(Shutterstock)

The popular erectile dysfunction (ED) drug Viagra not only helps boost a man’s performance in the bedroom, but also can spike the growth of skin cancer, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of Tubingen in Germany discovered that men who rely on the medication are at a greater risk of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Read: All your scary female ‘viagra’ questions answered here

The researchers noted that Sildenafil, which is marketed as Viagra and has been on the market since the late 1990s, has a stimulating effect on the messenger molecule cyclic guanosine monophosphate or cGMP, which in turn promotes the growth of existing malignant melanomas.

Researchers at the University of Tubingen in Germany discovered that men who rely on Viagra are at a greater risk of melanoma. (Shutterstock)

The scientists reached this conclusion through animal experiments and human cell cultures.

Study author Robert Feil said that they discovered that the cells of malignant melanoma also use the cGMP signalling pathway for their growth.

Read: Be warned! Viagra compounds found in dietary supplements

Cells normally contain an enzyme, called phosphodiesterase type 5 (or PDE5), that ensures the newly-formed cGMP is continuously broken down. However, sildenafil inhibits that enzyme. As a result, the melanoma begins to grow more vigorously.

The study appears in the journal Cell Reports.

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