Research and Development

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a non-melanoma skin cancer, is a locally destructing epidermal tumour with low metastatic potential. Usually, a BCC grows slowly and is painless. About 80% of these cancers grow on areas of skin that are regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation, especially on the head and neck, sometimes on the scalp.

BCC is the most common form of skin cancer and is assumed to be the most common cancer found in human at all. With an incidence of 1600 per 100,000 per year Australia has the highest incidence rate worldwide, followed by southern USA with 300 patients and Germany with 100 patients. The agestandardized incidence in northern Europe ranges from 40 to 80. Overall, the male fair-skinned population has the highest risk for BCC.

The increasing overall incidence rate can be explained at one hand by an improved diagnostics and increased awareness of people in seeking medical attention for suspicious skin lesions but on the other hand is mainly caused by an increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation and genetic predisposition. Increasing age, male sex, fair skin types I and II, immunosuppression and arsenic exposure are other recognised risk factors and a high dietary fat intake may be relevant. A large variety of treatment modalities has been developed and successfully applied for treatment of BCC. Principally, the available treatment options can be divided into surgical (excision and destruction) and nonsurgical techniques.

Topical photodynamic therapy (PDT) has developed as effective treatment alternative in therapy of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Excellent cosmetic results in “difficult to treat” skin areas such as the face and ear led to the fast acceptance of PDT, whereas intravenous applied chlorine e6 has the great advantage to penetrate the tissue effectively, making it a suitable therapy even for nodular or subjacent penetrating BCC.

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