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Immunotherapy in basal cell carcinoma


Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), primarily affecting the photo-exposed areas of the body, is one of the most common skin cancers accounting for about 75% of all skin cancers. Various genetic and molecular factors, in addition to the exposure to ultraviolet (UV) B principally, play a role in the progression of BCC. Until now, the treatment of BCC relied on conventional cancer therapy measures such as surgical excision. However, enhanced understanding of the pathogenesis of the progression of BCC has increasingly intrigued the researchers to develop drugs targeting the molecular system. With the evolution in targeted therapy measures, immunotherapy is emerging as a potentially beneficial alternative. Activating or modulating the immune system to treat BCC is believed to demonstrate better and sustained outcomes. Three immunomodulatory drugs are currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of BCC – imiquimod, sonidegib and vismodegib, and several other are under investigations in clinical trials. The role of combination therapy (combining chemotherapy with immunotherapy) is also being explored. It is expected that immunotherapy may soon significantly transform the standard of care for BCC.

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