MedWire News: A skin patch treatment for basal cell carcinoma effectively destroys facial tumors in most patients without the need for surgery or major radiation, researchers report.
Indeed, eight of out 10 patients with this type of cancer showed complete clearance of their tumors after treatment with the patch, which contains the radioactive isotope phosphorus-32 (P-32) and does not harm healthy areas of skin.
"For patients, it is beneficial because it is a simple, inexpensive and convenient procedure that does not require them to be admitted to the hospital," said lead researcher Priyanka Gupta (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India) in a press statement.
"This may become the standard procedure for treating basal cell carcinoma or serve as an alternative when surgery and radiotherapy are not possible."
Gupta and team studied 10 outpatients, aged between 32 and 74 years, with facial basal cell carcinoma near the eyes, on the nose, or on the forehead. None had invasion of underlying structures.
All patients were initially treated with the P-32 patch, which was custom made according to the size and shape of the lesion, for 3 hours. The patches were then reapplied on the fourth and seventh days after the first application, for 3 hours each so as to deliver approximately 100 Gy of radiation dose superficially.
Biopsies taken from the treated skin areas after 3 months showed no signs of residual malignant disease in eight patients. These patients also showed no signs of the disease after 3 years.
Furthermore, routine hematologic and biochemical examinations at the follow ups did not reveal any toxicity, and there was minimal scarring of the tumor site initially, which gradually healed.
"It can be concluded that radioactive skin bandages incorporating P-32 can be effectively used for treatment of superficial skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma," said Gupta.
The researchers now plan to conduct further trials to see whether the P-32 patch can be effectively used in general clinical practice for the treatment of patients with basal cell carcinoma.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in Miami, Florida, USA.
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