Treatment of arsenical keratosis and Bowen’s disease with acitretin


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Abstract

BackgroundLong-term exposure to arsenic is associated with the development of arsenical keratosis, Bowen’s disease, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. The efficacy of acitretin therapy was examined in two patients with cutaneous arsenical neoplasms.MethodsLipid profile, hematological and liver function tests were performed regularly during the therapy at monthly intervals.ResultsAfter the third month of treatment, improvement of lesions of arsenical keratosis and Bowen’s disease were observed in both patients. For the first patient who received 1 mg/kg daily acitretin for 10 months nearly total clearing was obtained at the end of therapy. The second patient discontinued the treatment after a period of 5 months because of symptomatic side-effects. During therapy no new lesions and no laboratory side-effects were observed in either patient.ConclusionsAlthough these results need to be confirmed by larger, long-term trials, it appears that acitretin is effective in the treatment of Bowen’s disease related with arsenic, as well as arsenical keratosis.

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