Comparison of the effectiveness of fractional 1550-nm erbium fiber laser and 0.05% tretinoin cream in the treatment of acanthosis nigricans: a prospective, randomized, controlled trial


Acanthosis nigricans is a common dermatological problem. There are currently limited clinical trials to determine the efficacy and safety of laser treatments. To compare the efficacy of fractional 1550-nm erbium fiber laser versus 0.05% tretinoin cream for the treatment of acanthosis nigricans at neck, a randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded study was conducted in 18 subjects with acanthosis nigricans at the neck. All patients were treated with both fractional 1550-nm erbium fiber laser and 0.05% tretinoin cream on each side of the neck. The laser side was treated with three treatment sessions, with a 4-week interval of 1550-nm fractional erbium laser. Another side was treated with 0.05% tretinoin cream daily at bedtime for 12 weeks. We evaluated at baseline, with a 4-week interval until 4 weeks after the last treatment. The efficacy was assessed by skin color ratio, melanin index, average roughness, photographic evaluation, patients’ satisfaction, and the adverse effects. At the study endpoint, week 12, the mean Visiometer-average roughness showed greater reduction in laser-treated side (24.65%) than tretinoin side (22.94%) (p = 0.004). Laser-treated side also showed greater percentage of skin color ratio reduction, melanin index reduction, and better mean of photographic-based evaluation percentage change from the baseline than tretinoin side with no significant different (p = 0.331, p = 0.116, p = 0.327, respectively). The study showed one post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in tretinoin side. Regarding to the average roughness, fractional 1550-nm erbium fiber laser was superior to 0.05% tretinoin cream for treatment of neck-acanthosis nigricans with less side effect. Fractional 1550-nm erbium fiber laser could be considered as an alternative treatment for acanthosis nigricans.

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Correspondence to Montree Udompataikul.

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This study has been approved by the Clinical Research Ethical Committee of Srinakharinwirot University and followed the 1964 Helsinki declaration. All patients signed informed consent before participating in the study.

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Leerapongnan, P., Jurairattanaporn, N., Kanokrungsee, S. et al. Comparison of the effectiveness of fractional 1550-nm erbium fiber laser and 0.05% tretinoin cream in the treatment of acanthosis nigricans: a prospective, randomized, controlled trial. Lasers Med Sci 35, 1153–1158 (2020).

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  • Fractional 1550-nm erbium fiber laser
  • Tretinoin
  • Acanthosis nigricans