Topical Immunotherapy can Control Skin Cancer

Release Date: 05-Oct-2019

Recently, the findings of a study is published in JCI insight confirmed that the Topical immunotherapy may help prevent the second most common type of skin cancer. the researcher team involves the Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston. They examined the combination of two topical creams and observe their action against the skin cancer. Both he creams were previously shown to clear precancerous skin lesions (actinic keratosis) in an earlier clinical trial.


During the study, the researchers studied a follow-up data from more than half of the 132 patients in the original trial for up to three years after initial treatment. After the study, the outcomes showed that patients who had received a combination of 5-fluorouracil  and calcipotriol, a synthetic form of vitamin D, had a reduced risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma on the face and scalp compared with patients who had received 5-FU alone. It is also observed that within a period of three years, about 7% of the total patients who received the combination developed squamous cell carcinoma and about 28% of the total patients who received standard therapy developed the disease.

According to the Author, Calcipotroil activates the immune system’s T cells, which in turn attack cancer cells. The combination did not produce the same risk- reducing effect for the arms. The researcher concluded that the creams may better penetrate the skin of the face and scalp than that of the arms, inducing a stronger immune response.

According to the senior author Dr. Shawn Demehri, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “We hope our findings will establish that the use of premalignant lesions as personalized therapeutic targets can train the immune system to fight against the progression to cancer.”

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