by Madhumathi Palaniappan on  December 14, 2016 at 2:58 PM Health Watch
  • Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common form of human skin cancer.
  • Research study finds topical skin cream to be used as an alternative to surgery in the treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
  • Topical skin creams can be used as a possible strategy in the future for the treatment of low-risk Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Topical Skin Cream Shows Promise In Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment
Topical skin cream can be used as an alternative to surgery in the treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), finds a new study funded by the Cancer Research UK.

The most common form of human skin cancer is the Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). The number of cases associated with Basal Cell Carcinoma is found to raise at an alarming rate with number of cases increasing by 10% every year. Basal cell carcinoma is accompanied by abnormal and uncontrolled lesions in the basal cells of the skin.The demand for treatment options has increased over the years for basal cell carcinoma.

The research study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

The effectiveness of Imiquimod, topical skin cream for the treatment of low -risk BCC lesions were studied over a five-year period.

The standard treatment for Basal cell carcinoma requires a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for performing the surgery. Specialized care for such treatment are needed in difficult cases.

Imiquimod, improves the body's immune response and the effectiveness for the treatment is based on the previous randomized controlled trial (RCT) for three years after treatment. 83.6% of success rate was observed after treatment with Imiquimod cream while 98.4% was observed after traditional surgery. With the follow-up for two years, 82.5% of patients showed a success rate for topical cream when compared to 97.7% for surgery.

Hywel C. Williams, DSc, FMedSci, NIHR Senior Investigator, Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology and Co-Director of the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK, said that "The absolute response rate for topical imiquimod of 83% at five years, although clearly inferior to the 98% for excisional surgery for low-risk BCC, might still represent a clinically useful treatment modality, because a cream treatment can be carried out in a primary care setting, and some patients may also prefer the option of a cream rather than surgery."

"If you had told me 15 years ago that one day we would be treating low risk nodular and superficial BCC with a cream that enhanced the body's local immune response, I would have walked away. But it is a reality nowadays," he added.

Using topical creams instead of surgery for treatment may leave patients to so-called "submarine lesions". However, imiquimod treatment was found to be successful in the first year without basal cell carcinoma recurrence.

The study findings show promise for the use of topical immunotherapy in skin cancer and the use of imiquimod in basal cell carcinoma.

Professor Williams, said, "Very few RCTs have been conducted for BCC, which is odd considering that it is the most common form of human cancer. Only a handful of such RCTs have been followed up for five years, which is important as some treatments, such as photodynamic therapy, produce reasonable results in the short term, but seem to result in more and more recurrences the longer patients are tracked."

The study results may help to develop new creams that can work in a similar way as that of imiquimod for treatment.

The author also concluded that the results of three and five year period for imiquimod cream versus surgery options for treatment showed precise results. This study may help patients and doctors to decide possible treatment options for basal cell carcinoma. Topical creams should be considered as a possible strategy for treating low-risk BCC.


  1. Basal Cell Carcinoma - (

Source: Medindia

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