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February 1985

Fluorouracil Paste Treatment of Thin Basal Cell Carcinomas

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco.

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(2):207-213. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660020065019

• Treatment of thin (superficial) basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) with topical fluorouracil is widely accepted despite the absence of published five-year cure rates. The published short-term data disclose treatment failure rates substantially higher than other modalities. In trials to improve and standardize topical fluorouracil therapy, thin BCCs were treated with 25% fluorouracil in petrolatum under occlusion for three weeks using weekly dressing changes. Of 44 thin BCCs treated only with 25% fluorouracil under occlusion for three weeks, the five-year cumulative recurrence rate was 21%. In a second series of 244 BCCs, light curettage preceded the 25% fluorouracil treatment to yield a five-year cumulative recurrence rate of 6%. Cosmetic results were good to excellent in more than 80% of both series. While fluorouracil by itself is not a satisfactory treatment for thin BCC, when combined with light curettage, topical fluorouracil therapy is capable of cure rates competitive with other modalities.

(Arch Dermatol 1985;121:207-213)