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  • NSRJ Editor


Amanda Rosenthal

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Background DNA repair enzymes have been shown to reduce actinic keratoses and non-melanoma skin cancers, but their use for the treatment of actinic cheilitis has not been studied. Objective The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the efficacy of a DNA repair enzyme lip balm containing T4 endonuclease in reducing the severity of actinic cheilitis in patients who applied the lip balm twice daily for 3 months. Methods We performed a prospective study in which 29 patients with a diagnosis of actinic cheilitis underwent a 3-month trial using a topical DNA repair enzyme lip balm containing T4 endonuclease applied to the lips twice daily. The primary, objective outcome was percent of actinic lip involvement, measured using computer software by dividing the calculated affected surface area by the calculated total surface area. Additional outcomes included pre- and post-intervention determination of an actinic cheilitis score on the Actinic Cheilitis Scale, which visually and tactilely quantifies the percentage of lip involvement, amount of roughness, erythema, and tenderness as well as a physician assessment using the Global Aesthetic Improvement Scale. Results Twenty-five of the 29 enrolled patients completed the trial. The lip balm significantly decreased the percentage of affected lip surface area (p<0.0001). According to the Actinic Cheilitis Scale, data demonstrate that the lip balm significantly decreased the percentage of lip involvement (p=0.002), amount of roughness (p=0.0012)), erythema (p=0.0020), and tenderness (p=0.0175). The total Actinic Cheilitis Scale score also significantly improved after the 3-month treatment period (p<0.0001). According to the Global Aesthetic Improvement Scale, the average score for all 26 patients was 1.04. Conclusion This study suggests that topical DNA repair enzyme lip balm containing T4 Endonuclease could potentially be a safe and efficacious way to improve and treat actinic cheilitis.

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