Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

Update on Laser Therapies for Basal Cell Carcinoma

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2020

According to a review published in Dermatologic Surgery, vascular-specific laser therapies may prove to be an effective treatment option for patients with low-risk basal cell carcinoma, although scarring is a common adverse event. Jusleen Ahluwalia, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues noted that although animal studies alone have been completed thus far, laser-activated gold nanoparticle therapy and laser-assisted drug delivery of the hedgehog pathway inhibitor vismodegib may theoretically confer more selective approaches and prevent epidermal scarring. To validate these findings, however, more long-term research is warranted.

The study team conducted a PubMed database search for articles on laser therapy for basal cell carcinoma, including randomized control trials, cohort studies, and case studies. Overall, 28 articles were reviewed, including studies involving novel approaches for treating this type of skin cancer. The study focused on upcoming laser therapies and their potential limitations.

Nonsurgical alternative treatments are in demand for patients with low-risk tumors due to the cancer’s negative impacts on quality of life. Vascular-specific laser therapy is becoming increasingly studied as a potential treatment option for basal cell carcinoma, given the limitations of topical treatments. Laser therapies demonstrated promise against indolent disease; such treatments for aggressive subtypes of basal cell carcinoma have not been investigated because standard treatment options are not available. Ongoing studies continue to assess options to minimize scarring, including immunized photothermal therapy or laser-assisted chemotherapeutic delivery.

“Efficacy, cosmesis, and practicality of clinical application will help determine where these novel modalities fit into the grand scheme of managing low-risk basal cell carcinoma,” the researchers concluded.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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