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Imiquimod Cream Reduces Kaposi's Sarcoma Skin Lesions

Small study shows an almost 50 percent response rate in patients with HIV-negative lesions

MONDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with HIV-negative Kaposi's sarcoma skin lesions, topical treatment with imiquimod 5 percent cream may significantly reduce tumor activity with few side effects, according to the results of a small study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Noel Emile Celestin Schartz, M.D., Ph.D., of Hopital Saint Louis in Paris, France, and colleagues conducted a prospective, open-label, single center, phase II clinical trial in 17 patients who were treated with imiquimod cream applied under occlusion three times per week for 24 weeks.

The researchers identified a significant clinical response in eight patients, six of whom experienced a partial response and two of whom experienced a complete response. But they also identified tumor progression in six patients. They noted that the most common side effects were local itching and erythema.

"The clinical results and toxicity profile of imiquimod cream offer an attractive alternative to locally destructive therapies, with less risk of pain, ulceration and residual scarring," the authors conclude. "Moreover, imiquimod is distinguished by its at-home patient-administered application. The response rate could probably be optimized with daily or five times a week application."

This study was supported by a grant-in-aid from 3M Pharmaceuticals.

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