Skin Cancer (Non-Melanoma): Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about non-melanoma skin cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu.

Doctors are working to learn more about non-melanoma skin cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

  • EGFR inhibitors for advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. A tumor protein known as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) causes many squamous cell carcinomas to grow out of control. Several clinical trials are investigating whether combining radiation therapy with drugs that inhibit EGFR is an effective treatment option for advanced or metastatic disease.

  • Additional Hedgehog pathway inhibitors for advanced basal cell carcinoma. Researchers are developing new hedgehog pathway inhibitors for advanced basal cell carcinoma that cannot be treated with surgery or radiation therapy.

  • Combining Hedgehog pathway inhibitors with other therapies. Researchers are testing whether combining hedgehog inhibitors with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy, would be beneficial in treating basal cell carcinomas that are difficult to cure.

  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses materials made either by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function. Immunotherapies are currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of other cancers, including melanoma and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, but are being actively investigated for certain non-melanoma skin cancers. These medications are usually given through a vein, and their beneficial effects can be long-lasting.

  • Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current skin cancer treatments to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding non-melanoma skin cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

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