Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Depth: Cancer drugs used cosmetically

Dr. Dana Sachs from the University of Michigan has confirmed what cosmetic dermatologists have known for years –topical use of cancer-fighting fluorouracil not only removes pre-skin cancers, but can dramatically improve the cosmetic appearance of sun-damaged skin.

Topical fluorouracil can lead to great cosmetic improvement. Identical results can be seen when a process known as photodynamic therapy (PDT) is used to treat pre-cancerous changes of the skin. In this process a topical medication called levulinic acid is applied to the skin and is followed by laser/light source treatment of the skin. Both topical fluorouracil and PDT are FDA approved to treat pre-cancerous skin changes. Both cosmetically improve sun damaged skin. But which technique is better? The answer should be known soon.

We are currently comparing these 2 great cosmetic approaches. In a 60 subject study, we are treating 20 subjects with the Carac brand of topical fluorouracil, 20 subjects with PDT and 20 subjects with a combination of topical fluorouracil followed by PDT. Our study goes beyond that of Dr. Sachs in that not only will clinical improvement be evaluated, but biopsy documentation of changes will be looked at as well.

Is one cosmetic approach better than the other? Maybe yes, maybe no! Time will tell. What can be said with certainty is that neither approach will, as suggested by the Daily Telegraph, replace Botox® or Dysport. Botox® and Dysport are used to improve muscle induced stress lines. Topical fluorouracil and PDT are used to treat sun damaged aging skin. These approaches are best when used together.

Dr. David J. Goldberg
Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center, Boca Raton
Skin Laser Surgery Specialists of NY/NJ

Dr. Jason Pozner
Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center, Boca Raton
Sanctuary Plastic Surgery, Boca Raton

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