International Journal of Hematology and Oncology 2019, Vol 29, Num 4 Page(s): 155-164

Tuğba OSKAY1, Şeref KÖMÜRCÜ2

1Bayındır Hastanesi Dermatoloji Bölümü, ANKARA
2Bayındır Hastanesi Tıbbi Onkoloji Bölümü, ANKARA

Keywords: Imiquimod, Skin cancer
Imiquimod is a topical immune response modulator that shows antitumor and antiviral activity through the stimulation of both innate and acquired immunity. Although the exact mechanism of action is unknown, imiquimod is an agonist for toll-like receptor-7 on dendritic cells, and is thought to act by inducing proinflammatory cytokines, such as interferon alpha, interleukin-12, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Imiquimod also inhibits angiogenesis related to tumor growth in mouse models. Imiquimod has recently been approved by the FDA for the treatment of actinic keratoses and superficial basal cell carcinoma. Studies of using imiquimod for the treatment of other epidermal cancers such as Bowen’s disease, lentigo maligna, extramammary Paget’s disease, mycosis fungoides and keratoacanthoma show promising results in immunocompetent and immunosuppressed patients. Topical application of imiquimod 5% cream may represent an alternative topical treatment to surgery in some cases of skin cancer.

In this review, mechanism of action and the role of imiquimod involved in the treatment of cancerous and precancerous skin lesions are highlighted.