Therapeutic response of basal cell carcinoma to the immune response modifier imiquimod 5% cream

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Dec;41(6):1002-7. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(99)70261-6.


Background: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) responds to interferon therapy. Imiquimod is a cytokine and interferon inducer.

Objective: This randomized, double-blind pilot trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of imiquimod 5% cream versus vehicle in the treatment of BCC.

Methods: In this population of 35 patients with BCC, 24 received imiquimod 5% cream and 11 received vehicle cream in 1 of 5 dosing regimens for up to 16 weeks. Six weeks after treatment, an excisional biopsy of the target site was performed.

Results: BCC cleared (on the basis of histologic examination) in all 15 patients (100%) dosed twice daily, once daily, and 3 times weekly; in 3 of 5 (60%) patients dosed twice weekly; 2 of 4 (50%) dosed once weekly; and in 1 of 11 (9%) treated with vehicle. Adverse events were predominantly local reactions at the target tumor site, with the incidence and severity of local skin reactions declining in groups dosed less frequently.

Conclusion: Imiquimod 5% cream shows clinical efficacy in the treatment of BCC.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aminoquinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod
  • Interferon Inducers / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Aminoquinolines
  • Interferon Inducers
  • Imiquimod