The most common cancer in both men and women is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Although most primary and recurrent BCCs have high cure rates with standard therapies, advanced BCCs present a greater treatment challenge, especially in cosmetically and functionally sensitive areas. In patients unable to undergo surgery or radiation therapy, hedgehog inhibitors can be used neoadjuvantly to reduce tumor size, decreasing the extent and complexity of any subsequent surgery and providing either a cure or palliation. The goal of this review is to summarize the pharmacology, efficacy, and safety of systemic hedgehog inhibitors, as well as their role in daily practice as neoadjuvant therapy. Relevant English-language literature was identified and evaluated based on results from database searches of PubMed. Terms searched included, but were not limited to, “vismodegib,” “Erivedge,” “sonidegib,” “DE225,” “BCC,” and “neoadjuvant treatment.” Additional literature was identified from the reference lists of previously identified articles. The authors' personal experience in treating advanced BCC using hedgehog inhibitors has been incorporated into the recommendations made herein.
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Nikki Tang and Desiree Ratner
Hillary Johnson-Jahangir, William Sherman, and Désirée Ratner
Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is an uncommon, low grade soft-tissue malignancy associated with a high risk for local recurrence and widespread subclinical extension. Imatinib, a selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has been a beneficial adjuvant therapy in patients with unresectable, recurrent, or metastatic DFSP. Because of its characteristic infiltrative growth, effective surgical excision of DFSP may be limited by the risk for disfigurement or functional impairment. In recent cases, neoadjuvant imatinib mesylate therapy has been shown to reduce preoperative tumor size and lessen surgical morbidity associated with the removal of residual DFSP. Use of neoadjuvant imatinib before surgery, however, requires appropriate patient selection and careful weighing of the potential risks and benefits of this treatment.