Actinica Lotion® offers new hope for patients at high risk of non-melanoma skin cancer

Posted: 20 May 2014 | | No comments yet

Galderma announced that ACTINICA® Lotion is now available for the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer in high risk patients, including those who have had an organ transplant, undergone chemotherapy for malignant disease or have HIV/AIDS…


Galderma today announced that ACTINICA® Lotion is now available for the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in high risk patients, including those who have had an organ transplant, undergone chemotherapy for malignant disease or have HIV/AIDS. It is the first and only medical device to demonstrate effectiveness in the prevention of NMSC.1

There are an estimated 100,000 new cases of NMSC reported in the UK each year2. NMSC refers to a group of cancers that develop in the upper layers of the skin. It is more common but less aggressive than melanoma skin cancer, however evidence shows that rates of incidence and morbidity are increasing3. People with a weakened immune system are at increased risk of developing NMSC.

Dr Claas Ulrich, Consultant Physician and Dermo-oncologist at the Skin Cancer Centre of the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany said: “Although non-melanoma skin cancer is a growing issue across the UK, many of the most vulnerable populations are unaware that they are at increased risk of developing this cancer. These at risk groups need to take proactive steps to protect their skin in order to prevent this disease.”

Organ transplant recipients are 100 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma (a type of NMSC) than the general population4. People with HIV/AIDS are seven times more likely to develop skin cancer than the general population5.  In these at risk groups the body is less able to find and destroy the damaged skin cells, in about four percent of cases the cancer spreads to other parts of the body which can be fatal2. NMSC represents one of the key challenges in the long term care of organ transplant patients1 as skin cancer in immunosuppressed patients can be unusually aggressive6.

ACTINICA Lotion has been specifically designed to protect people from ultra-violet (UV) light which is a key factor in developing NMSC. A study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, found that two years of regular use of ACTINICALotion in organ transplant patients led to a 53% reduction of actinic keratoses lesions and prevented the development of new squamous cell carcinoma (types of NMSC)1.

Dr Ulrich explained: “As well as developing ACTINICA Lotion to be effective, we have worked to ensure it is accepted by patients. To encourage compliance we have minimised the greasy whitening effect and the need for frequent re-application that is common to many sun protections. This is why ACTINICA Lotion was chosen by most patients to be the study product in this trial.”

Sarah Sinstead, Product Manager, Galderma said: “Sun protection plays a vital role in reducing the progression of NMSC in at risk patient populations. We are very pleased to be able to offer a convenient and effective solution to preventing the damage caused to skin by UV light that can lead to skin cancer.”

ACTINICA Lotion contains a combination of photostable UV filters, which absorb, reflect and scatter a broad spectrum of UV radiation. It is highly effective in protecting skin from ultraviolet B (UVB) as well as from ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation. Its UVB and UVA protection level meets the highest category, “very high UV protection”, as established by the European Commission recommendation.

Actinic keratoses are dry scaly patches of skin that are caused by excessive sun exposure over many years. Actinic kerotoses are pink, red or brown in colour and range in width from 0.5 to 3cm7. They may develop into the more serious squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma starts in the cells lining the top of the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and accounts for approximately one-fifth of NMSCs8. It is the second most common form of skin cancer in the UK9.

Within the general population, people with fair-skin, blue-eyes, red or blonde-hair and who burn easily in the sun, are at particular risk7. Men are more affected than women as are people who work outdoors or enjoy outdoor hobbies in which they are exposed to UV light more frequently. However, for those with a weakened immune system prevention is key.

  1. Ulrich C et al. Prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer in organ transplant patients by regular use of a sunscreen: a 24 months, prospective, case-control study. British Journal of Dermatology 2009;161:78-84.
  2. NHS Choices. Skin cancer (non-melanoma)  Last accessed February 2014
  3. Madan V, Lear JT, Szeimies RM. Non-melanoma skin cancer. Lancet 2010;375(9715):673-85.
  4. Lindelof B, Sigurgeirsson B, Gabel H et al. Incidence of skin cancer in 5356 patients following organ transplantation. Br J Dermatol 2000; 143:513–19
  5. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Immunosuppression and skin cancer facts. Last accessed February 2014
  6. Gerlini, Romagnoli and Pimpinelli. Skin cancer and immunosuppression. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology. 2005 Oct;56(1):127-36
  7. NHS Choices website. Actinic keratoses overview.     Last accessed February 2014
  8. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Non-melanoma skin cancer in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland. Last accessed February 2014
  9. Macmillan Cancer Support. Types of skin cancer. Last accessed February 2014