Fluorouracil used to treat precancerous skin has the side effect of making skin look younger.
Ann Arbor, Mich. - The chemotherapy medication fluorouracil appears to reduce potentially precancerous skin patches and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin, according to a report by U-M associate professor of dermatology Dana L. Sachs, M.D., in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the Journal of the American Medical Association/Archives journals.Fluorouracil stops the body from synthesizing thymine, a building block of DNA. This drug is used to treat cancers of the colon, head and neck, pancreas and other organs.In studies of cancer patients undergoing treatment with fluorouracil, clinicians noticed changes in skin appearance, which led to the development of a topical therapy to treat skin lesions that may develop into skin cancer.
The fluorouracil works in a way similar to laser treatment. But the fluorouracil costs less.
Soon after the final fluorouracil treatment, skin biopsies revealed an increase in the levels of compounds related to skin injury, inflammation and degradation of the extracellular matrix (the non-living tissue that supports skin). At later points, procollagen protein, a collagen precursor was increased. Collagen is the major protein in skin and it is present in lower amounts in photo-damaged skin. In addition, collagen is fragmented and damaged in aged skin. Topical fluorouracil causes epidermal injury, which stimulates wound healing and dermal remodeling resulting in improved appearance, the authors write. The mechanism of topical fluorouracil in photo-aged skin follows a predictable wound healing pattern of events reminiscent of that seen with laser treatment of photo-aging.
The fluorouracil (or the laser) will kill some especially aged cells. But does it do more damage to other cells that puts one at higher risk of cancer in the longer run?
Rejuvenation therapies that would selectively kill off the most aged cells might be beneficial. But the selectivity of the cell killing needs to be very high or else a drug will damge more cells than it kills.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 June 17 11:49 PM Rejuvenation Skin|