More Research Needed on Skin Cancer Control

female scientist in lab
female scientist in lab
There are still many gaps in behavioral research, for skin cancer control.

Skin cancer control–related behavioral research is well-funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), but gaps remain in interventions and leveraging technology, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology.1

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the NIH-funded research portfolio of behavioral intervention for skin cancer control. The study evaluated the title, abstract, specific aims, and research plans of grant applications of skin cancer-related behaviors or behavioral intervention between 2000 and 2014.

The study found 112 grant applications. The funding rate was 35.7%, and 31 of the 40 that were granted funding included interventions.

There was no difference in funding rates between men and women investigators. The majority of funded applications were headed by an investigator with a PhD or equivalent (80%), followed by an MD (15%), an MD, PhD or equivalent (2.5%), and a masters or other professional degree (2.5%).

The majority of funded applications aimed to evaluate intervention to address prevention, though few included detection measures, either alone or in combination with prevention strategies or survivorship. None of the funded applications investigated emotional outcomes or adherence behavior associated with the diagnosis or treatment of skin cancer.

Though use of theory and technology were included in 75% of the applications, few used the full capability of the proposed technology, and few changed behavior or drive the intervention approach.

According to the authors, the results of this study show that the “grant success rate in skin cancer-related behavior science compares favorably to the overall NIH grant success rate (approximately 18%).”

They noted that the study identified gaps in behavioral research, including interventions for clinically relevant targets, use of technology, theory, and environmental manipulation to improve intervention.


  1. Perna FM, Dwyer LA, Tesauro G, et al. Research on skin cancer-related behaviors and outcomes in the NIH grant portfolio, 2000-2014. Skin Cancer Intervention Across the Cancer Control Continuum (SCI-3C). JAMA Dermatol. 2017 March 22. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.6216 [Epub ahead of print]

This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor