ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence suggests imiquimod may be a safe therapeutic option for the treatment of actinic keratosis (AK). The diagnosis and assessment of most AK lesions is made clinically, without histologic confirmation.
A phase III, randomized, double-blind, parallel group, vehicle-controlled study evaluated the efficacy of imiquimod 5% cream compared with vehicle in the treatment of AK lesions on the face and balding scalp including pretreatment and posttreatment biopsy specimens.
A total of 286 patients at 18 centers in 6 European countries with histologically confirmed AK were randomized to either imiquimod 5% cream or vehicle cream. Study cream was applied once per day, 3 days per week, for 16 weeks. Clearance of AK lesions was clinically and histologically assessed at an 8-week posttreatment visit.
The complete clearance rate for the imiquimod group was 57.1% versus 2.2% for the vehicle group (P <.001). The partial clearance rate (> or =75% reduction in baseline lesions) for the imiquimod group was 72.1% versus 4.3% for the vehicle group (P <.001). The most common side effects were erythema, scabbing/crusting, and erosions/ulceration. For the imiquimod group the incidence of severe erythema, scabbing/crusting, or erosions/ulceration was 30.6%, 29.9%, and 10.2%, respectively.
Imiquimod 5% cream used 3 times per week for 16 weeks is an effective treatment for AK. Clinical clearance was established by both clinical observation and histologic analysis.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 10/2004; 51(4):547-55. · 3.99 Impact Factor