Effectiveness of 5-fluorouracil treatment for actinic keratosis - A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Deborah A. Askew, Sharon M. Mickan, H. Peter Soyer, David Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Actinic keratosis (AK) lesions present as dry, rough, yellow–brown, scaly plaques which may become thickened and horny. Most AKs are caused by chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and are therefore most common in middle‐aged and elderly fair‐skinned individuals. Regions with a higher UV exposure show a higher prevalence, and the incidence rate increases with age.1 Around 15–25% of lesions resolve spontaneously over a 12‐month period, and the risk of a single lesion progressing to an invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is in the range 0.25–20% per year.2, 3 Opinion differs about the classification of AKs – some argue that they should be classified as in situ SCC because they are histopathologically indistinguishable from SCCs,3 whereas others argue that the classification of in situ SCC, although histopathologically correct, is liable to misinterpretation by consumers, leading to unnecessary and excessive concerns generated by a diagnosis of cancer and additional costs to already overburdened healthcare systems.4 Nevertheless, the inability to predict which AK lesions will transform into invasive SCCs means that the treatment of all AKs is indicated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-463
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


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