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imageBackground: Although hedgehog inhibitor therapy (HHIT) is offered as isolated medical treatment for extensive basal cell carcinoma (BCC), there is little evidence on the use of HHIT before definitive surgical intervention. In order to better define the utilization of HHIT for extensive BCC, we evaluated the impact of neoadjuvant HHIT on the subsequent surgical resection and reconstruction.
Methods: An IRB-approved, retrospective chart review was performed of patients who received HHIT as initial treatment for extensive BCC. Patients who discontinued HHIT and underwent surgical resection were included. Evaluation included BCC tumor response to HHIT, operative data, pathological data, radiation requirements, and evidence of tumor recurrence.
Results: Six patients were identified with tumors of the face/scalp (n = 4), trunk (n = 1) and upper extremity (n = 1). Hedgehog inhibitor therapy continued until tumors became unresponsive (n = 3, mean = 71 weeks) or side effects became intolerable (n = 3, mean = 31 weeks). In each case, a less extensive surgery was performed than estimated before HHIT. In 3 cases, significant bone resection was avoided. All resected specimens contained BCC. Four specimens exhibited clear margins. Postoperative radiation was performed in cases with positive margins (n = 2), and 1 patient experienced local recurrence. Length of follow-up was 5.7 to 11.8 months (mean = 8.23 months).
Conclusions: Although HHIT was not curative for extensive BCC, HHIT can decrease the morbidity of surgical treatment and increase the likelihood of curative resection. For patients with extensive BCC, a combined neoadjuvant use of HHIT and surgical treatment should be considered.

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