Warfield Weekly Update
Oct. 31, 2008
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Using a Hydroquinone/Tretinoin-Based Skin Health System Before and After Electrodessication & Curettage of Superficial Truncal Basal Cell Carcinoma: A Multicenter, Randomized, Investigator-Blind, Controlled Study

By David Pariser, M.D., James Spencer, M.D., Kenneth Gross, M.D., Suzanne Bruce, M.D., Robert Loss, M.D.


A common treatment to treat superficial basal cell carcinomas (BCC) is electrodessication and curettage (EDC). A main drawback to this treatment is the unsightly scars it leaves on skin. This study was conducted to investigate the efficacy of a hydroquinone/tretinoin skin care system used before and after EDC to improve the cosmetic appearance of the skin.

Sample Population

This study utilized 51 adult patients with 1-3 biopsy-proven superficial basal cell carcinomas on the trunk. All patients were Caucasian and had Fitzpatrick skin types I, II, III or IV. Overall, 59 lesions were treated. Patients were instructed to avoid using any non-study topical products and to protect the wounds from sun exposure.


Patients were randomly assigned to receive either a version of the hydroquinone/tretinoin system or a standard treatment of cleanser and healing ointment. Patients used the treatments for 3 weeks before and after the EDC therapy. Patients were treated with their regimen twice a day.


The use of the hydroquinone/tretinoin skincare system with EDC rendered superior esthetic results than the traditional treatment. There was an observed improvement in 72% of the lesions treated with the hydroquinone/ tretinoin treatment versus a 62% improvement in the standard treatment. The group treated with the hydroquinone/tretinoin also reported distortion as “none” or “mild” for every lesion. Furthermore, the hydroquinone/tretinoin group showed wounds with edges that appeared to be less elevated than the standard treatment group.

Conclusions While both treatments were well tolerated, the results point to the increased benefits of a hydroquinone/ tretinoin treatment used with EDC. The authors concluded that greater research could identify other procedures which could utilize hydroquinone/tretinoin treatments to improve skin appearance.

No reprints available.


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