Topical 5-fluorouracil as primary therapy for keratoacanthoma

Richard J. Gray, N. Bradley Meland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Keratoacanthoma is a common, benign cutaneous neoplasm that displays rapid growth on sun-exposed skin. Keratoacanthomas usually involute spontaneously after several months but rarely progress to squamous cell carcinoma. Because this is a benign, self-limited lesion of exposed skin, effective treatment should emphasize patient comfort and cosmetic results in addition to effectiveness. The authors present 2 patients with keratoacanthomas treated with topical 5-fluorouracil. Both patients had complete resolution of their lesions within 8 weeks. The cosmetic result was superb in both patients. Patient satisfaction with this therapy was excellent. Treatment can be instituted based on a clinical diagnosis; no diagnostic biopsy is necessary. Most keratoacanthomas respond to topical 5- fluorouracil therapy within 3 weeks, whereas squamous cell carcinomas respond poorly. Any lesion that shows a poor response after 3 weeks of therapy or that does not resolve within 8 weeks should undergo prompt excisional biopsy for definitive diagnosis and treatment. Topical 5-fluorouracil is an effective, convenient, relatively inexpensive treatment for keratoacanthoma that produces excellent cosmetic results. It should be added to the therapeutic armamentarium of all physicians who treat keratoacanthoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-85
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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