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Open Access Research article

Treatment of advanced, recurrent, resistant to previous treatments basal and squamous cell skin carcinomas with a synergistic formulation of interferons. Open, prospective study

Lorenzo Anasagasti-Angulo1, Yanelda Garcia-Vega2, Silvia Barcelona-Perez2, Pedro Lopez-Saura2 and Iraldo Bello-Rivero2*

Author Affiliations

1 National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology (INOR), Havana, Cuba

2 Clinical Trial Department, Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), Havana, Cuba

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:262  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-262

Published: 30 July 2009

Abstract

Background

Aggressive non-melanoma skin cancer (deeply infiltrating, recurrent, and morphea form lesions) are therapeutically challenging because they require considerable tissue loss and may demand radical disfiguring surgery. Interferons (IFN) may provide a non-surgical approach to the management of these tumors. The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of a formulation containing IFNs-α and -γ in synergistic proportions on patients with recurrent, advanced basal cell (BCC) or squamous cell skin carcinomas (SCSC).

Methods

Patients with extensive, recurrent, resistant to other procedures BCC or SCSC received the IFN formulation peri- and intralesionally, three times per week for 3 weeks. They had been previously treated with surgery and/or radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Thirteen weeks after the end of treatment, the original lesion sites were examined for histological evidence of remaining tumor.

Results

Sixteen elder (median 70 years-old) patients were included. They beared 12 BCC and 4 SCSC ranging from 1.5 to 12.5 cm in the longest dimension. At the end of treatment 47% CR (complete tumor elimination), 40% PR (>30% tumor reduction), and 13% stable disease were obtained. None of the patients relapsed during the treatment period. The median duration of the response was 38 months. Only one patient with complete response had relapsed until today. Principal adverse reactions were influenza-like symptoms well known to occur with interferon therapy, which were well tolerated.

Conclusion

The peri- and intralesional combination of IFNs-α and -γ was safe and showed effect for the treatment of advanced, recurrent and resistant to previous treatments of BCC and SCSC in elder patients. This is the first report of such treatment in patients with advance non-melanoma skin cancer. The encouraging result justifies further confirmatory trials.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials RPCEC00000052.