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Cream May Eradicate Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Situ

Patients receiving active treatment more likely to show resolution of treated lesion

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Imiquimod 5 percent cream monotherapy may help eradicate cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in situ, or Bowen's disease, in some patients, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Girish K. Patel, M.D., of the Welsh Institute of Dermatology in Cardiff, U.K., and colleagues randomized 31 patients with biopsy-proven squamous cell carcinoma to receive imiquimod cream daily or a placebo.

Of the 31 patients enrolled, three dropped out. Intention-to-treat analysis showed that 73 percent in the imiquimod group achieved resolution of the lesion, with no relapse during the nine-month follow-up period. No patients in the placebo arm achieved resolution. Occasional lack of response was associated with hyperkeratotic lesions, but adjuvant therapies to reduce hyperkeratosis may improve penetration.

Imiquimod 5 percent cream was generally well-tolerated. Nineteen patients did experience a localized inflammatory response, which included edema with erosion and weeping, and two patients dropped out due to the side effects.

While additional studies are needed to confirm the new findings, "patients who received imiquimod in this study experienced a high rate of success eradicating cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in situ," the study authors conclude.

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