Treating Melanoma in Situ During a Pandemic with Telemedicine and a Combination of Imiquimod, 5-Fluorouracil, and Tretinoin

Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2021 Feb;11(1):307-314. doi: 10.1007/s13555-020-00473-w. Epub 2021 Jan 17.


The recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created a quandary for the physician in terms of evaluating and treating cutaneous skin cancers, particularly melanomas. At the onset of the pandemic, many planned medical and surgical visits for skin cancers were postponed. Physicians and patients have had to balance the risk of exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with that of worsening morbidity and mortality due to delays in skin cancer treatments. We present a male patient who had two melanoma-in-situs (MISs) that were treated during the COVID-19 pandemic with a combination of topical imiquimod 5% cream, 5-fluorouracil 2% solution, and tretinoin 0.1% cream. The successful treatments occurred without in-person visits and with the aid of telemedicine. Although surgery is the standard for the treatment of melanoma in situ, this case demonstrates an effective viable treatment modality for MIS during a pandemic situation.

Keywords: COVID-19; Fluorouracil; Imiquimod; Melanoma-in-situ; SARS-CoV-2; Skin cancer; Telemedicine; Topical therapy; Tretinoin.