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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2002 Mar;3(3):299-303.

The use of retinoids in the prevention and treatment of skin cancer.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Joan C Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, 1542 Spring Valley Drive, Huntington, West Virginia 25704, USA.


There has been a significant increase in the number of cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the US in the past few years. Thus, it seems appropriate to review the available compounds that might be used in the chemoprevention of these lesions. This review focuses on the retinoids and details their results in clinical trials for treatment and prevention of skin cancer. Side effects of the various retinoid derivatives are also discussed. It is concluded that isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid) is the most effective retinoid for the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancers in high-risk patients in clinical trials. Current basic research is focused on developing receptor-selective retinoids which would have a higher therapeutic index for the treatment and chemoprevention of skin cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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