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July 1992

Isotretinoin Does Not Prevent Basal Cell Carcinoma

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology Northwestern University Medical School 303 E Chicago Ave Tarry 4-767 Chicago, IL 60611; Dermatology Clinic Massachusetts General Hospital WACC-4, Suite 481 Boston, MA 02114

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(7):975-976. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680170107017

The purpose of this editorial is twofold. First, we would like to bring the results of a recently completed therapeutic trial to the attention of the practicing clinician and, second, to point out the pitfalls by which therapeutic regimens gain widespread "acceptance." This prospective, double-blind, multicenter clinical trial, isotretinoin-basal cell carcinoma prevention study (ISO-BCC Study) conducted by the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md, has determined that, despite preliminary indications to the contrary, oral isotretinoin was not effective in preventing the development of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) in a population at high risk for such carcinomas. Nine hundred eighty-one subjects who had had at least two documented basal cell carcinomas were treated with either a placebo or low-dose (10 mg) oral isotretinoin for a 3-year period. They were then monitored for an additional 2 years after the medication was discontinued. Results indicated there was no therapeutic benefit from isotretinoin. There was

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