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Topical chemotherapy drug may improve appearance of aging skin


NEW YORK Topical application of the chemotherapy medication fluorouracil appears to reduce potentially precancerous skin patches and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin.

Fluorouracil is a drug used to treat cancers of the colon, head and neck, pancreas and other organs.

Dana Sachs, MD of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues evaluated the molecular and clinical changes in the skin of 21 healthy volunteers with actinic keratoses, skin lesions that may develop into skin cancer, and sun-damaged skin.

Following the treatment, the number of actinic keratoses was reduced significantly from an average of 11.6 lesions to an average of 1.5. Overall improvements in aging-related damage also improved.

Based on the 10-week questionnaire, most patients rated their skin as improved 95%, and 89% were willing to undergo the therapy again.

This study was supported by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

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