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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 267535, 4 pages
Case Report

Melanoma Arising after Imiquimod Use

1University of Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
2University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
3Skin Surgery Clinic, Auckland 0600, New Zealand

Received 31 August 2014; Accepted 16 October 2014; Published 9 November 2014

Academic Editor: Jeffrey M. Weinberg

Copyright © 2014 Sharad P. Paul. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Imiquimod belongs to the class of 1H-imidazo-[4,5-c]quinolones—drugs originally developed as nucleoside analogues with the aim of finding new potential antiviral agents (Harrison et al., 1988). Indeed, Imiquimod was first released as treatment for genital warts before its actions against skin cancer were studied. Imiquimod is a relatively small sized molecule (Mr = 240.3) and is hydrophobic, allowing it to penetrate the skin epidermal barrier and therefore making it suitable for topical formulations (Gerster et al., 2005). Imiquimod has shown itself effective against skin cancers and precancerous lesions, especially basal cell cancers and actinic keratosis (Salasche et al., 2002, Beutner et al., 1999). There have been reports of Imiquimod being used as topical treatment against cutaneous metastases of melanoma and some authors have reported its use as first-line therapy against melanoma in situ (Smyth et al., 2011, Gagnon, 2011). We report a case of an invasive malignant melanoma arising de novo at the specific site of application of Imiquimod (Aldara cream 5%) for a biopsy-proven superficial BCC. Therefore while Imiquimod has added to our topical armamentarium against skin cancer, care must be exercised in prescribing this treatment and it is especially important to follow up patients regularly.