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January 1996

Failure of Interferon Alfa and Isotretinoin Combination Therapy in the Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome

Author Affiliations


Dermatology Clinical Research Unit National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Bldg 10 Room 9N228 10 Center Dr, MSC 1820 Bethesda, MD 20892-1820

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(1):94-95. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890250108025

Interferon alfa therapy has activity against a variety of tumors both alone and in combination with retinoids.1-4 Clinical studies have demonstrated synergism of interferon alfa with isotretinoin in the treatment of locally advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the skin and advanced inoperable squamous cell carcinomas of the cervix.3

Because of the high basal cell carcinoma (BCC) clearance rates reported with interferon alfa therapy alone1,2 and the synergism with isotretinoin therapy, we evaluated the combination of both agents as forms of treatment for BCCs in a patient with the nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.

Subject and Methods.  We examined a 38-year-old woman with nevoid BCC syndrome and detected 23 lesions clinically suggestive of BCCs. We chose five lesions that were similar in appearance (located on the neck, the lateral aspect of the chest, the abdomen, and the back) andobtained a 2-mm punch biopsy specimen from each lesion 1 month before treatment. Histopathologic examination of each biopsy specimen identified BCC. The lesions ranged from 0.5×0.6 cm to 0.8×0.8 cm, and their size did not change during the month before treatment.

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