Intended for healthcare professionals

A practical approach to using 5-fluorouracil cream

In the early 1960s, 5-fluorouracil was developed as an anticancer drug. It is a thymine analogue antimetabolite, which is incorporated into ribonucleic acid (RNA) and inhibits DNA synthesis, ultimately leading to cell death. A patient who was receiving systemic treatment was observed to develop inflammation and then clearing of his actinic keratosis. A cream formulation was subsequently found to be effective in clearing actinic keratoses. Since then, it has also been used to treat Bowen’s disease, superficial basal cell carcinomas, keratoacanthomas and viral warts. It is available in the UK as a 5% cream (Efudix®, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Ltd, UK).
Dermatology in practice 2008; 16(1): 12–13
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