Long-Term Follow-Up Results of Topical Imiquimod Treatment in Basal Cell Carcinoma

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Imiquimod 5% topical cream is approved for treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Data on the long-term efficacy and usage in other BCC subtypes are scarce.

OBJECTIVE

Evaluation of long-term safety and efficacy of topical imiquimod treatment in various BCC subtypes and locations, with individualized treatment duration.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Histopathologically confirmed BCCs treated solely with topical imiquimod were identified retrospectively and included in this study. Clinical and histopathologic tumor clearances were the primary end point. After treatment was concluded, patients were examined every 3 to 6 months.

RESULTS

In total, 24 BCC samples from 22 patients (F:M = 9:13; mean age: 73.5 years, SD: 10.767) were evaluated. The majority of the lesions were located in the head and neck area (83%). Mean treatment duration until complete clearance was 15.7 ± 6.9 weeks (6–28 weeks). Imiquimod was discontinued in 3 lesions, due to either clinically or histopathologically insufficient response. During follow-up, 2 lesions recurred, at 42 and 50 months after treatment. During a mean follow-up time of 72.7 (SD = 9) months, 79.1% of the lesions were cured without local recurrence.

CONCLUSION

Although imiquimod is only approved for superficial BCC, treatment success was high among the study patients with various histological subtypes, with good long-term cosmetic results.

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