Comparison of imiquimod 5% cream versus radiotherapy as treatment for eyelid basal cell carcinoma

Br J Ophthalmol. 2011 Oct;95(10):1393-6. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2010.193078. Epub 2011 Jan 17.


Background: To compare the efficacy, cosmesis and tolerance of two non-surgical treatments-imiquimod (IMQ) 5% cream and radiotherapy (RT)-to combat periocular nodular basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

Methods: Twenty-seven patients with clinical and histopathological diagnosis of nodular BCC on the eyelid were included and randomly selected: 15 patients were treated with IMQ 5% cream once daily, 5 days/week for 6 weeks, and 12 patients were treated with RT.

Results: All tumours showed histopathological remission within 3 months of the treatment, and sustained clinical remission was documented in each patient after 24 months' follow-up. Treatment tolerability was rated as moderate with IMQ and good with RT. Functional results were better in patients treated with IMQ. Loss of eyelashes was reported for most of the patients treated with RT.

Conclusions: IMQ and RT therapies are effective for treating eyelid nodular BCCs. Cosmesis and functional results were better with IMQ, while tolerability was higher with RT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aminoquinolines / adverse effects
  • Aminoquinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Remission Induction
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Aminoquinolines
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Imiquimod