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August 1981

Skin Cancer in Patients With Psoriasis Treated With Coal Tar: A 25-Year Follow-up Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology and the Section of Medical Research Statistics, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Dermatol. 1981;117(8):465-468. doi:10.1001/archderm.1981.01650080019020

• For many years, crude coal tar has been used for the treatment of psoriasis. The possible carcinogenic effect of crude coal tar and ultraviolet (UV) radiation (Goeckerman regimen), considered individually or in combination, has been of some concern to physicians. A 25-year follow-up study was completed on 280 patients with psoriasis who were hospitalized and treated with crude coal tar and UV radiation at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn, during the years 1950 through 1954. The results of this study suggest that the incidence of skin cancer is not appreciably increased above the expected incidence for the general population when patients are treated with coal tar ointments. It seems that the Goeckerman regimen (topical crude coal tar combined with UV radiation) can be used with minimal risk for skin cancer in the treatment of psoriasis.

(Arch Dermatol 1981;117:465-468)