Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

Quality of Life With Vismodegib Treatment of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Monday, July 1, 2019

For patients with advanced and/or multiple basal cell carcinomas, the Hedgehog pathway inhibitor vismodegib is a safe and effective treatment option that can improves patients’ health-related quality of life, according to findings presented in Dermatology and Therapy. Interestingly, noted Alessia Villani, MD, of the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, and colleagues, at baseline visits, patients with basal cell carcinomas in visible areas such as the face or neck displayed higher Dermatology Life Quality Index scores than patients with these carcinomas on the trunk or legs, but after 6 months of vismodegib therapy, the index scores of the two groups were almost the same.

“This is the first study to demonstrate a significant change in patient health-related quality of life from baseline to 6 months after Hedgehog pathway inhibitor therapy initiation using the [Dermatology Life Quality Index test,” the authors concluded. “Further studies are required to better manage Hedgehog pathway inhibitor–related adverse events and to validate a specific assessment of the health-related quality of life in patients who are undergoing this treatment.”

The authors enrolled 48 patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma from the Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Unit of the University of Naples Frederico II. A total of 35 of the patients were men, and 13 were women. As for the location of these tumors, 30 were on the head or neck, 9 were on the trunk, 7 were on the upper limbs, and 2 were localized on the legs.

The most frequently reported adverse events reported with vismodegib were muscle spasms, alopecia, and dysgeusia. The majority of grade 1 or 2 events were reported from patients during the first 2 months of therapy, except for alopecia, which occurred later and was usually severe.

For the 41 patients who completed the Dermatology Life Quality Index test at baseline and 6 months after treatment, the average score decreased from a mean value of 5.7 at baseline to 0.4 after 6 months. The authors indicated that vismodegib “had a positive effect on patient [health-related quality of life.”

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

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