Chemotherapeutic agents and pharmacologic principles developed for cancer therapy have assumed importance in the treatment of severe, extensive psoriasis where topical therapy is no longer effective or feasible. One must, however, continually weigh the risk of side effects against possible benefit in the use of these toxic agents. Recent advances, as well as compilation of previously reported clinical trials of methotrexate, azaribine, methoxsalen with ultraviolet light, mycophenolic acid, and hydroxyurea are reported and discussed. The future of systemic chemotherapy for psoriasis lies in the use of randomized double-blind controlled trials to evaluate new agents, the development of new dosage schedules designed to maximize therapeutic index, including possible combination chemotherapy, and the utilization of new routes of administration to provide programmed local tissue levels of effective agents.
Since the time of Paul Ehrlich, the physician who coined the term "chemotherapy" and developed the first alkylating agent, ethylenimine, great strides have been
Farber EM, Pearlman D, Abel EA. An Appraisal of Current Systemic Chemotherapy for Psoriasis. Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(ANIVERSARY):1679-1688. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630360047013