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Although there are evidence-based guidelines for actinic keratosis management, selecting a cost-effective field therapy is challenging because of limited studies comparing cost, efficacy, and adherence among treatments. To review the literature on field-directed therapies for actinic keratosis, comparing efficacy, cost, and adherence data for topical and in-office treatments. PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases were searched from October 2020 to March 2021 for articles on field therapy for actinic keratosis. Total cost per regimen was estimated using wholesale acquisition cost package prices and Medicare coverage rates for May 2021. Effective cost was approximated by dividing total cost by complete response rate. Efficacy data for various field therapies range widely, and long-term follow-up is limited. Cross-study comparisons are challenging because of heterogeneity of studies. Field-directed therapy with topical 5-fluorouracil and photodynamic therapy have similar effective cost. Adherence may significantly affect real-world efficacy and long-term clearance; this would favor shorter duration topical regimens or in-office procedures. Standardization of future studies examining efficacy of field treatments for actinic keratosis will allow comparison across treatments. In-office treatments such as photodynamic therapy represent a cost-effective alternative to topical therapies with comparable efficacy. Copyright © 2023 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Nathaniel Lampley, Rachel Rigo, Todd Schlesinger, Anthony M Rossi. Field Therapy for Actinic Keratosis: A Structured Review of the Literature on Efficacy, Cost, and Adherence. Dermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.]. 2023 Feb 01;49(2):124-129

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PMID: 36728061

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