Objective: To compare the therapeutic effectiveness of daily exposure to narrowband (NB) UV-B vs broadband (BB) UV-B with and without tar.
Design: Half-body exposures to NB UV-B or BB UV-B were given daily for 4 weeks in this comparative treatment study. Narrowband UV-B was delivered from TL-01 fluorescent bulbs and BB UV-B from conventional bulbs in the same phototherapy cabinet. Narrowband UV-B was compared using a paired treatment approach to BB UV-B above the waist and to BB UV-B with tar (Goeckerman treatment) below the waist.
Setting: General clinical research center of a university hospital inpatient unit.
Patients: Twenty-two patients with moderate-to-severe plaque-type psoriasis completed the study.
Main outcome measures: Clinical efficacy was measured weekly using psoriasis severity scoring. Therapeutic outcomes after 4 weeks were compared in paired biopsy samples from treated lesions using objective histopathological measures (quantitative reduction in epidermal acanthosis and keratin 16 expression).
Results: Clinical resolution of psoriasis was achieved on 86% of paired sites treated with NB UV-B vs 73% treated with BB UV-B. Histopathological resolution of epidermal hyperplasia (marked by keratin 16 expression) was achieved in 88% of lesions treated with NB UV-B vs 59% treated with BB UV-B. Epidermal acanthosis was reduced more completely by NB UV-B treatment. Clinical resolution of psoriatic lesions occurred more rapidly following NB UV-B treatment, with some patients achieving complete resolution after 2 to 3 weeks of treatment.
Conclusions: Narrowband UV-B offers a significant therapeutic advantage over BB UV-B in the treatment of psoriasis, with faster clearing and more complete disease resolution. The erythema response to NB UV-B treatment was significantly more intense and persistent compared with BB UV-B. Considerably more necrotic keratinocytes were observed in histopathological sections of skin treated with NB UV-B after a single 2.0-minimum erythema dose exposure. Treatment should be coupled with obligate minimum erythema dose testing to NB UV-B and close clinical observation during dose increases.