Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

Keratinocyte Carcinoma: Update on Treatment and Prevention

By: Lauren Harrison, MS
Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Keratinocyte carcinoma, previously known as non-melanoma skin cancer, is the most common malignancy in fair-skinned populations worldwide. In a review article published in Current Opinion in Pharmacology, Alexander Zink, MD, MPH, PhD, of the Technical University of Munich, proposed that artificial intelligence, nudging, and wearables may help to reduce the economic burden of keratinocyte carcinoma by improving preventive measures.

“Despite its very high cure rate, [keratinocyte carcinoma] causes many deaths annually, worldwide, and a higher level of impairment as measured using the Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY) than does melanoma,” reported Dr. Zink.

The primary risk factor for keratinocyte carcinoma is ultraviolet radiation, making people who are frequently outside for work or leisure at higher risk for developing the disease. Preventive behavior as it stands is inadequate, Dr. Zink noted, so new awareness and defense strategies are needed. Although wearing sunscreen or a hat has been proposed as preventive measures, neither one reduces sunburn to a large extent.

The treatment of choice for this common skin cancer remains topical treatment and excision; however, several new drugs have been developed to treat progressive keratinocyte carcinoma. New treatment options include daylight photodynamic therapy and PD-1 inhibitors for progressive keratinocyte carcinoma. To complement novel treatment options, Internet search analysis and teledermatologic approaches may provide a foundation for population-based prevention approaches. Improved health communication through strategies such as text messages and smartphone apps may be a new way for patients to connect with physicians.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information can be found at

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