Pharmacological Treatments for Basal Cell Carcinoma

University of Adelaide, Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
Drugs (Impact Factor: 4.34). 04/2007; 67(6):915-34. DOI: 10.2165/00003495-200767060-00007
Source: PubMed


Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common non-melanoma skin cancer, and its incidence continues to rise. Current management options are numerous and focus on tumour eradication while maximising cosmetic and functional capacity. Although surgery continues to be considered the main treatment modality, new pharmacological agents, such as immunomodulators, topical chemotherapeutic agents and photodynamic therapy, have emerged and show promising results. Pharmacological agents offer the potential for lower morbidity and improved tissue preservation compared with surgery and radiotherapy. However, pharmacological treatments possess higher failure rates when compared with surgery, and most studies have investigated only low-risk lesions. Several prospective, randomised, double-blind, vehicle-controlled studies have established the efficacy of imiquimod for superficial BCC.
This review summarises the evidence regarding the mechanism, efficacy and safety of pharmacological agents based on the literature from the past 10 years. Experimental treatments that have been successfully utilised in the treatment of BCC are also discussed. Treatment of BCC with other agents, such as tazarotene, glycoalkaloid (BEC-5) cream, cidofovir and calcium dobesilate have been reported, but further studies are needed to ascertain the efficacy and adverse-effect profiles of these treatments.

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    • "Drugs. 2007;67(6):915–34.76 With permission from Wolters Kluwer Health | Adis (© Adis Data Information BV 2007. "
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    ABSTRACT: Superficial basal cell carcinoma comprise up to 25% of all histological sub-types. They are more likely to occur on younger persons and females and although generally more common on the trunk, also occur frequently on the exposed areas of the head and neck especially in areas of high sun exposure. In the last decade, new treatment options such as topical applications that modify the immune response have been trialed for effectiveness in treating these lesions. Imiquimod 5% cream has been shown to stimulate the innate and cell mediated immune system. The short-term success of imiquimod 5% cream in randomized controlled trials comparing different treatment regimes and dosing as a treatment for small superficial basal cell carcinoma (BCC) not on the face or neck is in the range of 82% for 5 times per week application. A high proportion of participants with good response rates to topical treatment (58%-92%) experience local side effects such as itching and burning, less commonly erosion and ulceration, but the proportion of participants ceasing treatment has not been high. To date one long-term study indicates a treatment success rate of 78%-81% and that initial response is a predictor of long-term outcome. Recurrences tend to occur within the first year after treatment. Future research will compare this preparation to the gold standard treatment for superficial BCC - surgical excision.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2009 · Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology

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    ABSTRACT: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is regarded as the most prevalent malignant skin tumor in whites. A variety of surgical and nonsurgical interventions are available to treat BCC. In recent years, an immune response modifier drug, imiquimod, has been approved in treating superficial BCC (sBCC). The objective of the authors was to review the published literature to evaluate outcomes such as efficacy, safety, and quality of life associated with imiquimod treatment among patients with sBCC. A MEDLINE search of the literature was performed to identify studies published between January 1, 1995 and March 31, 2008 that evaluated imiquimod efficacy, safety, and quality of life in treating BCC. Overall, imiquimod 5% cream was associated with increased clinical and histologic clearance among patients with sBCC as compared to placebo. The findings from short-term cost effectiveness studies suggest that use of imiquimod 5% cream can be more cost-effective than surgical interventions such as excision surgery among patients with superficial BCC. Future studies evaluating long term cost effectiveness of imiquimod treatment are warranted.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2008 · Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD
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