To determine the effect of facial skin resurfacing for treatment of actinic keratoses (AKs) and prophylaxis against new primary basal and squamous cell carcinomas in individuals with previous nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) or severe photodamage.
Randomized, prospective 5-year trial.
Dermatology and otolaryngology clinics of a Veterans Affairs hospital.
Thirty-four patients with a history of facial or scalp AKs or basal or squamous cell carcinoma were enrolled. Five of 7 eligible patients who declined study-related treatment were used as controls. Twenty-seven patients were randomized to 3 treatment arms; 3 patients were discontinued from the study.
Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing, 30% trichloroacetic acid peel, or 5% fluorouracil cream applied twice daily for 3 weeks.
Main Outcome Measures
Reduction in the number of AKs was measured 3 months after treatment. The incidence of new NMSC in treated areas was assessed between January 1, 2001, and June 30, 2005. Times from baseline to diagnosis of first skin cancer were compared between the treatment and control groups.
Treatment with fluorouracil, trichloroacetic acid, or carbon dioxide laser resulted in an 83% to 92% reduction in AKs (P≤.03), a lower incidence of NMSC compared with the control group (P<.001), and a trend toward longer time to development of new skin cancer compared with the control group (P=.07). However, no significant differences were noted among the treatment groups.
All 3 modalities demonstrated benefit for AK reduction and skin cancer prophylaxis compared with controls and warrant further study in a larger trial.