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Topical Fluorouracil Helps Treat Photoaging

Injury to skin stimulates wound healing and dermal remodeling, study suggests

TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Topical fluorouracil can successfully treat actinic keratoses and photodamage by promoting wound healing patterns similar to those caused by laser treatments, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Dana L. Sachs, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a study of 21 healthy adults aged 56 to 85 years with actinic keratoses and photodamage, who were treated twice daily with 5 percent fluorouracil for two weeks. The investigators took biopsies at baseline and throughout the period of treatment.

The researchers found that, at the end of the treatment period, there was a significant increase in gene expression of the effectors of epidermal injury, inflammation and extracellular matrix degradation. At week four, types I and III procollagen messenger RNA were induced, and type I procollagen protein levels were increased two-fold by week 24, the investigators note.

"Evidence is accumulating that even minimal epidermal injury, such as that from nonablative laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and now topical fluorouracil, can lead to mild to moderate clinical improvement," the authors write. "It is likely that other topical agents such as diclofenac gel or imiquimod that have similar skin-injuring properties in photodamaged skin may have a similar restorative effect."

The study was supported by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, in the form of donations of fluorouracil cream.

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