Laser Bests Topical 5-FU for Actinic Keratoses

Laser therapy has less recurrence but more side effects

FRIDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term comparative follow-up shows less recurrence with Er:YAG laser resurfacing compared to traditional 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in actinic keratoses treatment, according to study results published in the September issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

Judith U. Ostertag, M.D., of the University Hospital Maastricht in the Netherlands, and colleagues evaluated three-, six-, and 12-month data from a prospective randomized study of 55 patients who had topical 5-FU or Er:YAG laser resurfacing for widespread lesions on the face and scalp.

At all post-treatment examinations, the laser-treated group had significantly less actinic keratoses recurrences compared to the 5-FU-treated group. Side effects including erythema and hypopigmentation were more common in those who had laser treatment.

"Er:YAG laser resurfacing is significantly more effective than topical 5-FU. The treatment and healing period is much shorter with laser resurfacing and therefore the duration of cosmetically disturbing side effects and pain is shorter. However, more side effects occur after laser resurfacing. We would recommend this field treatment for patients with diffuse widespread actinic keratoses, patients with actinic keratoses resistant to other treatment modalities, and for patients with multiple malignant lesions in history," the authors write.

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