Conference Coverage

Case report: Longstanding actinic keratosis responds to kanuka honey



The patient also had multiple AKs, including a raised, crusted, scaly lesion measuring 20 mm by 21 mm with marginal erythema on the back of one hand. The lesion had been present and dormant for a number of years, but it had recently begun to grow.

Dr. Theodore Rosen

“This gentleman decided he’d just try the honey on his AK, too,” Dr. Rosen said. The man reported applying a small amount to the lesion and erythematous area once a day, leaving it on for about 30 to 60 minutes. After 5 days, he stopped because the lesion became tender. During the next two days, the patient reported “picking at” the lesion, which was softening. He repeated this cycle of treatment for 3 months with no other therapy to the lesion.

“The lesion gradually reduced in size with an initial rapid reduction in its dry, crusted nature,” the authors reported. “After 3 months, residual appearance of the lesion was a 20 mm by 17 mm area of pink skin with no elements of hypertrophy, crusting, or loss of skin integrity,” they noted. “At 6 months, there were no signs of recurrence. At 9 months, the appearance of the skin had fully returned to normal. A telephone follow-up was conducted at 2 years after treatment, and the patient reported that his skin in the area was still completely normal and that there were no signs of recurrence.”

Dr. Mane noted that they had only clinical evidence, and no histology of the lesion either before or after its change. “The AK was diagnosed and treated in primary care, where it is not usual for AKs to be biopsied, and the decision to write up the case was made after the course of treatment had finished,” they said.

“Immunomodulatory topical agents are already widely used in the treatment of AK as an immune component is evident in its etiology,” they wrote. “Immunocompromised patients have 250 times the risk of developing an AK than the general population.”

Dr. Rosen said that kanuka honey is also being investigated in psoriasis, eczema, acne, herpes simplex virus, and diaper dermatitis. It is also being studied for rosacea.

Dr. Mane declared no conflicts of interest. Some coauthors disclosed that they have previously received funding from HoneyLab NZ. Dr. Rosen has no commercial interest in HoneyLab.

The meeting was sponsored by Global Academy for Medical Education; Global Academy and this news organization are owned by the same parent company.


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