A topical cream when used together with surgery may help treat melanoma; potentially helping doctors cut less, find researchers at Saint Louis University.
Researchers examined two cases of the most common type of melanoma of the head and neck, lentigo maligna (LM), a type of "melanoma-in- situ", the earliest stage of melanoma.
This early form, known as LM, precedes the more invasive form, lentigo maligna melanoma (LMM), and the progression of LM to LMM typically occurs after 10 to 15 years. Though surgical removal of LM is most often used to treat the non-invasive form of the cancer, it can have high local recurrence rates.
In two patients who had both LM and LMM, researchers used imiquimod in conjunction with surgery. In both patients, surgery was first done to remove the area of known invasive disease, followed by the topical cream to the outer area of LM.
This approach was chosen with patients who did not want extensive surgery due to the large size of the melanoma on their scalp and face.
Researchers found that imiquimod produced good results for patients when used together with surgery to treat the cancer, potentially helping doctors cut less.
These cases, along with other recent studies, suggest that imiquimod may help to reduce the area needing surgery, manage the LM and hopefully minimize its recurrence.
Researchers hope that topical treatments like imiquimod may be used to lower the seriousness and the cost of treating the disease, as well as limit scars from surgery, and, most importantly, improve patient care.
The study is published in Dermatologic Surgery.