A clinical comparison and long-term follow-up of topical 5-fluorouracil versus laser resurfacing in the treatment of widespread actinic keratoses


  • The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.


Background and Objectives:

Many treatment modalities exist for actinic keratoses (AK). Topical 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) has been one of the standard treatments. Laser resurfacing is a more recent treatment option. In the literature prospective randomized studies comparing these treatments are lacking.

Study Design/Patients and Methods:

Prospective randomized study to compare topical 5-FU with Er:YAG laser resurfacing. Fifty-five patients with multiple AK on the scalp and or the face were included. Clinical and histopathological evaluation took place at 3, 6, and 12 months after treatment.


At 3, 6, and 12 months after treatment, there were significantly less recurrences in the laser group compared to the group of patients treated with 5-FU. Side effects did occur more frequently in the laser group, especially erythema and hypopigmentation.


Compared to treatment with topical 5-FU, Er:YAG laser resurfacing is more effective regarding recurrence rates. Although significantly more side effects occur, laser resurfacing is a useful therapeutic option especially in patients with widespread AK. Lasers Surg. Med. 38:731–739, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.