Actinic keratosis (AK) is a very common skin disease caused by chronic sun damage, which in 75% of cases arises on chronically sun-exposed areas, such as face, scalp, neck, hands, and forearms. AKs must be considered an early squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) for their probable progression into invasive SCC. For this reason, all AK should be treated, and clinical follow-up is recommended. The aims of treatment are: (i) to clinically eradicate evident and subclinical lesions, (ii) to prevent their evolution into SCC, and (iii) to reduce the number of relapses. Among available treatments, it is possible to distinguish lesion-directed therapies and field-directed therapies. Lesion-directed treatments include: (i) cryotherapy; (ii) laser therapy; (iii) surgery; and (iv) curettage. Whereas, field-directed treatments are: (i) 5-fluorouracil (5-FU); (ii) diclofenac 3% gel; (iii) chemical peeling; (iv) imiquimod; and (v) photodynamic therapy (PDT). Prevention plays an important role in the treatment of AKs, and it is based on the continuous use of sunscreen and protective clothing. This review shows different types of available treatments and describes the characteristics and benefits of each medication, underlining the best choice.

Current therapies for actinic keratosis

Conforti C.;Corneli P.
;
di Meo N.;Farinazzo E.;Moret A.;Magaton Rizzi G.;Zalaudek I.
2020-01-01

Abstract

Actinic keratosis (AK) is a very common skin disease caused by chronic sun damage, which in 75% of cases arises on chronically sun-exposed areas, such as face, scalp, neck, hands, and forearms. AKs must be considered an early squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) for their probable progression into invasive SCC. For this reason, all AK should be treated, and clinical follow-up is recommended. The aims of treatment are: (i) to clinically eradicate evident and subclinical lesions, (ii) to prevent their evolution into SCC, and (iii) to reduce the number of relapses. Among available treatments, it is possible to distinguish lesion-directed therapies and field-directed therapies. Lesion-directed treatments include: (i) cryotherapy; (ii) laser therapy; (iii) surgery; and (iv) curettage. Whereas, field-directed treatments are: (i) 5-fluorouracil (5-FU); (ii) diclofenac 3% gel; (iii) chemical peeling; (iv) imiquimod; and (v) photodynamic therapy (PDT). Prevention plays an important role in the treatment of AKs, and it is based on the continuous use of sunscreen and protective clothing. This review shows different types of available treatments and describes the characteristics and benefits of each medication, underlining the best choice.
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https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ijd.14767
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