Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer with an increasing incidence. However, it is still poorly researched compared to many other human diseases. Today, cutaneous neoplasms are a frequent, major problem faced by medical professionals. BCC tumors can cause extensive cosmetic distress as well as disfigurement to patients especially when on the face. Treatment options include surgery, systemic agents, and topical agents. Over the past few decades more studies have been performed to evaluate the utility of topical imiquimod therapy for treatment of BCC. Imiquimod is a toll-like receptor that modifies the immune response via the up-regulation of cytokines and has the capacity to improve a person’s immune response. Multiple clinical studies have demonstrated the ability of topical imiquimod to diminish or even eradicate basal cell carcinoma. Given this variety of treatment options and the need for noninvasive options, this review is focused on summarizing the existing information available on the use of imiquimod for BCC and comparing it to other treatment modalities. While excision is the first line treatment and often has greater success with regards to clearance, imiquimod has been shown to be an efficacious treatment modality for BCC. Imiquimod therapy has been shown to be a less invasive and cheaper option than many other treatment modalities. It may be used as either monotherapy or in combination with other treatments, though occlusion has not been shown to be helpful. Several dosing regimens have been studied in the literature. Dosing should take into account factors such as the type of BCC, location, and physician/patient comfort with the regimen. Variability in response to treatment with imiquimod amongst studies suggests that response to treatment may depend on location of lesion, thus more research must be done in this area.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)