Nonthermal atmospheric pressure plasma (NTAP) may serve as an effective, well-tolerated treatment for actinic keratoses, according to findings of a small study published in the February issue of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Dr. Peter C. Friedman and his associates at the Skin Center Dermatology Group, New York, wrote that prior studies suggest that NTAP – applied with a hand-held electrode – could selectively induce apoptosis in cancer cells in vitro, and may also up-regulate local and tumor-specific systemic immune response.
In this study, five patients with 5 biopsy-proven and 12 clinically diagnosed actinic keratoses (AKs) were treated with a single dose of NTAP on the target lesion. The procedure involved nanosecond pulses that were applied to the treatment area for 1-2 minutes, an approach designed to provide sufficient dose while avoiding tissue damage (J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 Feb.).
At the 1-month follow-up – in which photographs were used to compare before and after treatment – 9 of the 17 AK lesions showed full clinical resolution, with no visible or palpable lesions and only minimal site erythema. Three lesions showed significant improvement, with at least a 50% improvement, and five lesions should minor or no improvement.
Dr. Friedman and his associates noted that current treatment options for AKs all have significant downsides including side effects such as pain and inflammation, and frequent recurrences. There were no adverse effects, such as pain, inflammation, or site reaction, reported during treatment with NTAP or 1 month after treatment.
“Given its very impressive tolerability, NTAP may be an excellent alternative for our current treatment options for AKs, especially if its efficacy and treatment procedure time can be improved and if further, long-term studies demonstrate lasting effects,” the authors wrote. “Further studies are needed to optimize treatment parameters, provide histologic confirmation of treatment effect, and evaluate the long-term benefits of this modality.”
No conflicts of interest were declared.