ODAC Dermatology Conference, in partnership with Next Steps in Derm, interviewed Dr. David Miller, Instructor in Dermatology and Medicine at Harvard Medical School and member of the Department of Dermatology and the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is co-director of the Merkel cell carcinoma treatment program. Watch as he shares important updates on Immuno-Oncology (IO) strategies for melanoma.
Source: Dermatology News
When caring for individuals with sun-damaged skin, dermatologists need comfort with the full spectrum of photo-related skin disease. From assessment and treatment of actinic keratoses (AKs) and field cancerization, to long-term follow-up of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), appropriate treatment and staging can improve patient quality of life and reduce health care costs, Vishal Patel, MD, said at the Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical Conference.
said , director of cutaneous oncology at George Washington University Cancer Center, Washington. On the other hand, he added, “field disease can be a marker for invasive squamous cell carcinoma risk, and it requires field treatment.” Treatment that reduces field disease is primary prevention because it decreases the formation of invasive SCC, he noted.
Source: Dermatology News
Pearls for providers of photodynamic therapy (PDT) include tips on skin preparation, eye protection, and use of three new codes to maximize reimbursement. Also trending in medical dermatology are best practices for intralesional injections of 5-FU to treat the often challenging isomorphic squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) or keratoacanthomas on the lower leg, as well as use of neoadjuvant hedgehog inhibitors to shrink large skin cancer lesions, according to Glenn David Goldman, MD.
“This talk is about what you can do medically as a dermatologic surgeon,” Dr. Goldman said at the.
Use new billing codes for photodynamic therapy
There are now three new PDT billing codes. “Make sure your coders are using these properly. They are active now, and if you don’t use them, you won’t get paid properly,” said, professor and medical director of dermatology at the University of Vermont, Burlington. Specifically, 96567 is for standard PDT applied by staff; 96573 is for PDT applied by a physician; and 96574 is for PDT and curettage performed by a physician.
“Be involved, don’t delegate,” Dr. Goldman added. “If you do, you will get paid half as much as you used to, which means you will lose money on every single patient you treat.”
What type of PDT physicians choose to use in their practice remains controversial. “Do you do short-contact PDT, do you do daylight PDT? We’ve gone back and forth in our practice,” Dr. Goldman said. “I’m not impressed with daylight PDT. I know this is at odds with some of the people here, but at least in Vermont, it doesn’t work very well.”
The way PDT was described in the original trials (a photosensitizer applied in the office followed by PDT) “works the best, with one caveat,” Dr. Goldman said. The caveat is that dermatologists should aim for a PDT clearance that approaches the efficacy of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). “If you can get to that – which is difficult by the way – I think your patients will really appreciate this.”
An additional PDT pearl Dr. Goldman shared involves skin preparation: the use of acetone to defat the skin, even in patients with very thick lesions. Apply acetone with gauze to the site for 5 minutes and “all of that hyperkeratosis just wipes away,” curette off any residual hyperkeratosis – and consider a ring anesthetic block to control pain for the patient with severe disease, he advised.
Another tip is to forgo the goggles that come with most PDT kits. Instead, purchase smaller, disposable laser eye shields for PDT patients, Dr. Goldman said. “They work better. You can get closer to the eye … and they are more comfortable for the patient.”
Dr. Goldman’s practice is providing more PDT and much less 5-FU for patient convenience. “I believe if someone is willing to go through 3 weeks of 5-FU or 12-16 weeks of imiquimod, they get the best results. However, most people don’t want to do that if they can sit in front of a light for 15 minutes.”
Consider intralesional injections for SCCs and KAs on the legs
An ongoing challenge in medical dermatology is preventing rapid recurrence of SCCs and/or keratoacanthomas (KAs) near sites of previous excision on the legs. “We all see this quite a bit. Often you get lesions on the leg, you cut them out, and they come right back” close to the excision site, Dr. Goldman said.
He does not recommend methotrexate injections for these lesions. “Methotrexate does not work. It doesn’t hurt, but I’ve injected methotrexate into squamous cell carcinomas many times and they’ve never gone away.” In contrast, 5-FU “works incredibly well. They go away, I’ve had tremendous success. This has changed the way we treat these lesions.” 5-FU is inexpensive and can be obtained from oncology pharmacies. One caveat is 5-FU injections can be painful and patients require anesthesia prior to injection.
Source: Dermatology Times
Options for repairing nasal defects after skin cancer surgery should be based on location, size and depth of the defect, as well as patient preference.
“If the defect is centrally located in the alar groove, you may want natural healing to occur,” says Joel L. Cohen, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado in Denver, and director of AboutSkin Dermatology in Greenwood Village and Lone Tree, Colo. He spoke with Dermatology Times prior to his presentation on skin cancer nasal reconstruction at the recent Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic & Clinical Conference (ODAC) in Miami.
“In such a case, the natural concavity is often recapitulated by simply letting the skin granulate, without the need for any sutured repair.”
However, in many instances of nasal reconstruction, dermatologists have to decide which procedure will achieve the best aesthetic outcome and also, the level of wound care that can be managed by the patient.
Source: Dermatology News
In his practice, Joel L. Cohen, MD, spends a good part of his day doing Mohs surgery, “with the goal of cancer removal, and after surgery, having the patient look good,” he said at the Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical Conference.
“Having resurfacing in my practice has allowed me to treat not only wrinkles and etched lines, but also help skin cancer patients by blending and minimizing their skin cancer scars,” said Dr. Cohen, an aesthetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon in private practice in Denver.
For example, one of his patients was a kindergarten teacher who had a large rotation flap scar on her cheek after excision of a melanoma in situ. The children asked her about it all the time during the 2 months after the surgery, and she decided to come in for some laser sessions. “With three ablative fractional laser sessions, she really looked great just 3 months later and wasn’t even interested in wearing makeup at that point.”
Resurfacing in his practice using a variety of lasers is very helpful, Dr. Cohen said. He published a study in November that compared pulse dye laser, CO2 ablative fractional lasers, or a combination of both for modification of scars following Mohs surgery ().
The prospective, multicenter study revealed that although both monotherapy approaches were safe and effective, the combination of pulse dye laser and fractional ablative laser offered some synergy that was preferred by patients.