5-Fluorouracil in Dermatology: The Diverse Uses Beyond Malignant and Premalignant Skin Disease

Tamara Searle, Firas Al-Niaimi, Faisal R Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is widely used for treatment of malignant and premalignant skin cancers; however, its use in other common cutaneous conditions has been less widely reported.

OBJECTIVE: We investigated the off-label uses of 5-FU beyond malignant and premalignant skin disease.

METHODS: We conducted a literature review searching multiple databases to evaluate the evidence for the off-label uses of 5-FU. The level of evidence was evaluated and selected accordingly listing the studies with the highest level of evidence first using the Oxford Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine 2011 guidance.

RESULTS: We found underlying evidence to support the use of 5-FU for a wide range of noncancerous cutaneous indications including scarring (keloid, hypertrophic), pigmentary disorders (vitiligo, idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis), cutaneous infections (viral warts, molluscum contagiosum), inflammatory dermatoses (Darier's disease, Hailey-Hailey disease and sarcoidosis), and cosmetic indications (photoaging, treatment of filler nodules and granulomas).

CONCLUSION: In selected patients, 5-FU can be as effective as more established treatments, with fewer side-effects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDermatologic Surgery
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)e66-e70
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of '5-Fluorouracil in Dermatology: The Diverse Uses Beyond Malignant and Premalignant Skin Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this