What is the mechanism of action for 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the treatment of keloids and hypertrophic scars?

Updated: Jun 12, 2018
  • Author: Brian Berman, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

5-FU, a pyrimidine analogue with antimetabolite activity, inhibits fibroblastic proliferation in tissue culture and is believed to reduce postoperative scarring by decreasing fibroblast proliferation. Its efficacy and safety have been reported when used as a monotherapy or when used in combination with other drugs (eg TAC) for the treatment of other fibrosing conditions, including infantile digital fibromatosis, knuckle pads, rheumatoid nodules, and adverse foreign body reaction and sarcoidal granulomatous complications after soft tissue filler injection. Some data suggest that 5-FU is effective in the treatment of hypertrophic scars and is somewhat effective in small keloids. Several studies have shown the effectiveness of 5-FU.


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