Main Line Center for Skin Surgery
191 Presidential Blvd, Suite LN24
Bala Cynwyd, PA
Phone: 610-664-1414 
Fax: 610-572-7262

Oral drug effective for treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma

Preliminary results of treatment of locally advanced or metastatic basal cell carcinoma with vismodegib, a new drug from Genentech, were published in the September 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Vismodegib (Erivedge) was approved in January 2012 for the treatment of metastatic advanced basal cell carcinoma not treatable by surgery alone and is now available by prescription. The drug is also effective in controlling basal cell skin cancers associated with an uncommon genetic condition known as basal cell nevus syndrome.  Patients with this syndrome develop numerous and extensive skin cancers starting at a young age. The oral drug blocks new tumor growth and results in tumor shrinkage. Because of significant side effects (severe muscle cramps and hair loss) and significant expense of treatment, vismodegib should only be prescribed in cases where other alternative treatments are lacking.

New England Journal of Medicine 2012.

Aspirin found to protect against melanoma

The Womens Health Initative study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that post menopausal women that regularly used aspirin had a lower risk of developing melanoma. Long term use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti inflammatory agents like ibuprofen have been shown to reduce the risk of other types of cancer such as breast,colorectal, and gastric. This effect probably occurs through the reduction of inflammation that has been implicated in cancer development.
2012 Annual Meeting of the Society of Investigative Dermatology

‘Spray on’ skin cells?

Persistent leg ulcers have been treated with a spray on application of skin cells  that appears to hasten wound healing ! This novel treatment concept is still undergoing studies and may be useful for healing other types of wounds.

Lancet 2012.

Skin Cancer: Another reason to stop smoking!

While most skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet radiation, chemicals contained in tobacco smoke may contribute to the development of some types of skin cancer. A recent study demonstrated increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma associated with tobacco use. A good reason to quit smoking- as if there were not enough!
Archives of Dermatology, August  2012