An evaluation of the efficacy of topical application of salicylic acid for the treatment of familial cylindromatosis

Br J Dermatol. 2006 Jul;155(1):182-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2006.07224.x.


Background: Familial cylindromatosis is a rare genetic disorder, giving rise to neoplasms of the skin appendages. We have recently shown that loss of the cylindromatosis tumour suppressor gene leads to activation of NF-kappaB, a transcription factor having antiapoptotic activity. This provides a possible explanation for the deregulated growth of cylindromas. In cell-based assays, salicylate can prevent NF-kappaB activation caused by loss of the cylindromatosis gene, suggesting that salicylic acid application might be a potential treatment for cylindromatosis.

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of topical application of salicylic acid on familial cylindromas.

Methods: Cylindromas in five patients from four different cylindromatosis families were treated with twice daily and then once daily topical salicylic acid. Clinical response was determined by serial tumour measurements.

Results: In total 17 cylindromas in five patients were studied: 12 target lesions and five control lesions. The median size of the cylindromas was 1.0 cm (range, 0.6-2.8 cm). Two of the 12 cylindromas showed a complete remission. Another eight lesions showed some response, but not sufficient to qualify as partial remission. The control lesions remained stable or increased in size.

Conclusions: Salicylic acid is a well-tolerated and potential new treatment for cylindromatosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Skin Appendage / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Skin Appendage / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Skin Appendage / metabolism
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Kinase / metabolism
  • Keratolytic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / drug therapy*
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / genetics
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / metabolism
  • Pilot Projects
  • Remission Induction
  • Salicylic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Salicylic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Keratolytic Agents
  • NF-kappa B
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • Salicylic Acid