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To the Editor.—
The letter to the editor by Paslin in the September 1977 issue of the Archives (p 1302) shows that he missed completely the point of our editorial in the April issue (p 421). Dr Paslin is correct when he states that it has been known for a long time that a variety of phenols and catechols are toxic to melanoma cells and that so far no one has been able to make use of this direct cytotoxicity to treat animals or patients with melanomas. In our editorial, we suggested that the depigmenting agents be used to destroy normal pigment cells in the skin to evoke an immunologic response that in turn would destroy or suppress melanoma cells that were left in the body after the primary lesion was excised. We did not suggest that the agents be used for a direct cytotoxic effect on melanoma cells.
Lerner AB, Nordlund JJ. Depigmentation of Normal Skin to Treat Patients With Melanomas. Arch Dermatol. 1978;114(4):628. doi:10.1001/archderm.1978.01640160094044