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Pronounced local skin reaction to ingenol mebutateagainst actinic keratosis in kidney transplant recipient
without systemic adverse events
Mosab Mohanna, MD,a,b and Gunther Hofbauer, MDa
Zurich, Switzerland and Medina, Saudi Arabia
Key words: actinic keratosis; field cancerization; immunosuppression; organ transplantation; Picato (ingenol).
AK: actinic keratosisBCCs: basal cell carcinomasFD: field directedLD: lesion directedNMSC: nonmelanoma skin cancerOTRs: organ transplant recipientsPDT: photodynamic therapySCCs: squamous cell carcinomasUV: ultraviolet
INTRODUCTIONField cancerization in organ transplant recipients
(OTRs) is a frequent occurrence, setting the stagefor multiple squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs).Immunosuppression directly promotes keratinocytecancer formation and reduces tumor immunity.Photo damage is amplified in OTRs via severalmechanisms including potentiation of the tumor-promoting effects of calcineurin inhibitors and anti-infective medications such as voriconazole. Thechallenge with field cancerization in OTRs is to stayahead of repetitive epithelial tumor formation. Wepresent a strategy to treat field cancerization usingingenol mebutate and discuss other nonregisteredmodalities and treatment options.
CASE REPORTWe report the case of a 76-year-old male recipient
of a ABO-incompatible living donor kidney in 2008for underlying autosomal dominant polycystic kid-ney disease. He showed significant field cancer-ization of the skin with large areas of sun damageand extensive areas of actinic keratosis. These areashad multiple epithelial tumors that developed overtime. His immunosuppressive medication had beenadjusted to avoid azathioprine, a known ultraviolet(UV) A photosensitizer and DNA damaging agent,and to account for his increased incidence of skincancer. He currently was maintained on tacrolimus,1.5 mg orally daily, and mycophenolate mofetil,500 mg orally daily.
Field cancerization of this patients skin hasresulted in 5 SCCs, 2 basal cell carcinomas (BCCs),multiple SCCs in situ (Bowens disease) and actinickeratoses (AKs) over the last 13 years. The invasive
the Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Zuricha
d the Department of Dermatology, Taibah University.b
ing sources: None.
icts of interest: None declared.
spondence to: Mosab Mohanna, MD, Department of
rmatology, University Hospital Zurich, Gloriastrasse 31,
91, Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCCs and BCCs were surgically excised. Acitretintitrated up to 25 mg daily was started in 2007 toreduce his rate of SCC formation. With his immuno-suppressive medication at low levels and acitretinchemoprevention at full dosage, we focused onrepeat topical treatments for his field cancerization.Field treatment on the scalp and face consisted ofvarious topical modalities including cryotherapy,imiquimod, and photodynamic therapy (PDT) withvarying success. 5-Flurouracil was not used, as thepatient refused daily application of the cream andlong treatment courses. Because of reduced compli-ance of our patient in the past and because of hisother chronic illness, we decided for physician-directed field treatment to ensure application andefficacy. Ingenol mebutate was considered and usedwhen other therapies began to fail.
When used, cryotherapy was performed every3 months on suspicious lesions and led to clinicalremission and regression of treated spots but had noimpact on the larger area of field cancerization. Sideeffects included oozing, crusting, inflammation, anddepigmentation of the treated areas. Imiquimod wasused intermittently between 2001 and 2011, both
JAAD Case Reports 2015;1:S19-22.
2015 by the American Academy of Dermatology, Inc. Publishedby Elsevier, Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-
NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/
Fig 1. Reaction to ingenol mebutate. Field cancerization of the skin was addressed with threecycles of ingenol mebutate (IM). Here, the third cycle of IM is depicted in an area larger than theregistered 25 cm2. The first day after applying 150 g IM gel showed a pronounced localreaction with erythema, erosions, and hemorrhagic, yellowish crusting of occiput and vertex(A), with erythema and erosions of the left temporal fossa triangularis and the left ear (B), aswell of the right temporal fossa (C). Five weeks after stopping the third cycle of 150 g IM gelthe erythema and erosions had improved significantly on occiput and vertex (D), with slighterythema with no erosions of the left temporal fossa triangularis and the left ear (E) andatrophied macula with slight erythema and a central superficial erosion of the right temporalfossa (F). Twenty five weeks after stopping the third cycle of 150 g IM gel, a whitish maculeremained on the vertex with sporadic crusts (G), with complete clinical remission of AK of lefttemporal fossa triangularis and the left ear (H), and atrophied macula of right temporal fossatriangularis (I) without erythema in all treated areas.
JAAD CASE REPORTSNOVEMBER 2015
S20 Mohanna and Hofbauer
before and after transplantation, 3 times per week for4 weeks inducing erythema, inflammation, anderosions. Clinically, field cancerization improved inthe treated areas, whereas actinic keratosis tended torelapse within several months after the last applica-tion. Because of increasing numbers of intraepithe-lial lesions and reduced efficacy of self-medication
with imiquimod, photodynamic therapy was startedin November 2011. Ten cycles of PDT were per-formed on 5 anatomic areas of the patients face andscalp. Despite clinical improvement, the patientwas unable to tolerate the pain from PDT illumina-tion, and he refused further PDT therapy in January2013.
JAAD CASE REPORTSVOLUME 1, NUMBER 6
Mohanna and Hofbauer S21
Field cancerization persisted, and in June 2013multiple biopsies of the scalp again confirmed AKsthat required treatment. Radiotherapy, whilecommonly used in our department for immunocom-petent patients to cure large areas such as baldingscalp or face from field cancerization, was not anoption, as our experience shows reduced efficacyand rapid recurrence of epithelial invasive skincancers. PDT would have been a suitable option,but the patient refused further attempts of PDTbecause of pain. Without registered modalities avail-able in this case, we searched for nonregisteredalternative treatments to improve his field cancer-ization. Based on previous experience with a limitednumber of patients, we chose to apply ingenolmebutate (IM), 150 g once, as a physician-directed treatment on a large area of field cancer-ization, mimicking the application of PDT. A single,physician-directed application in March 2014extended the treatment area beyond the registeredprotocol of 75 cm2 to a larger area including theocciput, vertex, temporal fossa triangularis bilater-ally, and the left ear. A pronounced reaction witherythema, erosions, and hemorrhagic, yellowishcrusting developed on the next day (Fig 1, A-C ).Erythema and erosions were present at follow-up1 month later (Fig 1, D-F ). At the last follow-up inSeptember 2014, slightly erythematous macules withfew interspersed crusts were present (Fig 1, G-I ). Weobserved a full clinical remission of AK with goodcosmetic outcome. The patient never reported anyfever, chills, fatigue or malaise, during or afteringenol mebutate treatment. C-reactive proteinnever exceeded a level of 3.6 mg/L after IM cycles.Glomerular filtration rate remained at 30 mL/min orgreater after all IM treatment cycles. No other signs ofgraft rejection were noted.
DISCUSSIONActinic keratoses are proliferations of atypical
keratinocytes in the epidermis caused by chronicUV radiation exposure. The presence of 2 ormore AKs, SCC, or BCC on photo-damaged skinconstitutes the diagnosis of field cancerization andincreases the risk for subsequent invasive nonmela-noma skin cancer (NMSC).1 Although AKs arefrequent in the general population, OTRs are athigher risk for AKs because of their exposure toimmunosuppressive medications. These patientshave SCC 65 to 250 times more frequently than thosein the general population.2 The aim in treating AKs isto prevent the progression to invasive SCC.Preventive measures involve avoidance of unnec-essary exposure to UV light and regular use ofsunscreen to prevent or delay the development of
NMSC in OTR.2 Treatment approaches to AKs can bedivided into lesion directed (LD) or field directed(FD). LD therapies are preferred in patients with fewisolated lesions andwithout elevated risk for invasiveNMSC development. These LD therapies includelocal destruction, curettage, cryotherapy, or excision.FD therapies target clinically visible lesions andpreclinical lesions with keratinocyte changes in theskin around the visible lesions. Topical treatmentscomprise 5-fluorouracil, diclofenac, imiquimod,topical retinoids, or ingenol mebutate. Other FDtreatment modalities include PDT, radiotherapy,laser, chemical peels, dermabrasion, or skin grafting.3
Most topical therapies for AKs typically induceinflammation but must be applied for long periods ofweeks to months. Topical IM has been registered inthe United States and the European Union since2012. IM is found to have equal efficacy against AKafter only 3 days of application. Furthermore