Mechanism of Action
The mechanism of action of Aldara Cream in treating AK and sBCC lesions is unknown.
In a study of 18 subjects with AK comparing Aldara Cream to vehicle, increases from baseline in week 2 biomarker levels were reported for CD3, CD4, CD8, CD11c, and CD68 for Aldara Cream treated subjects; however, the clinical relevance of these findings is unknown.
Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma
An open label study in six subjects with sBCC suggests that treatment with Aldara Cream may increase the infiltration of lymphocytes, dendritic cells, and macrophages into the tumor lesion; however, the clinical significance of these findings is unknown.
External Genital Warts
Imiquimod has no direct antiviral activity in cell culture. A study in 22 subjects with genital/perianal warts comparing Aldara Cream and vehicle shows that Aldara Cream induces mRNA encoding cytokines including interferon-α at the treatment site. In addition HPVL1 mRNA and HPV DNA are significantly decreased following treatment. However, the clinical relevance of these findings is unknown.
Systemic absorption of imiquimod across the affected skin of 58 subjects with AK was observed with a dosing frequency of 3 applications per week for 16 weeks. Mean peak serum drug concentrations at the end of week 16 were approximately 0.1, 0.2, and 3.5 ng/mL for the applications to face (12.5 mg imiquimod, 1 single-use packet), scalp (25 mg, 2 packets) and
hands/arms (75 mg, 6 packets), respectively.
Table 10: Mean Serum Imiquimod Concentration in Adults Following Administration of the Last Topical Dose During Week 16 (Actinic Keratosis)
| Amount of Aldara Cream applied || Mean peak serum imiquimod concentration [C max ] |
|12.5 mg (1 packet)||0.1 ng/mL|
|25 mg (2 packets)||0.2 ng/mL|
|75 mg (6 packets)||3.5 ng/mL|
The application surface area was not controlled when more than one packet was used. Dose proportionality was not observed. However it appears that systemic exposure may be more dependent on surface area of application than amount of applied dose. The apparent half-life was approximately 10 times greater with topical dosing than the 2 hour apparent half-life seen following subcutaneous dosing, suggesting prolonged retention of drug in the skin. Mean urinary recoveries of imiquimod and metabolites combined were 0.08 and 0.15% of the applied dose in the group using 75 mg (6 packets) for males and females, respectively following 3 applications per week for 16 weeks.
Systemic absorption of imiquimod was observed across the affected skin of 12 subjects with genital/perianal warts, with an average dose of 4.6 mg. Mean peak drug concentration of approximately 0.4 ng/mL was seen during the study. Mean urinary recoveries of imiquimod and metabolites combined over the whole course of treatment, expressed as percent of the estimated applied dose, were 0.11 and 2.41% in the males and females, respectively.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
In an oral (gavage) rat carcinogenicity study, imiquimod was administered to Wistar rats on a 2X/week (up to 6 mg/kg/day) or daily (3 mg/kg/day) dosing schedule for 24 months. No treatment related tumors were noted in the oral rat carcinogenicity study up to the highest doses tested in this study of 6 mg/kg administered 2X/week in female rats (87X MRHD based on weekly AUC comparisons), 4 mg/kg administered 2X/week in male rats (75X MRHD based on weekly AUC comparisons) or 3 mg/kg administered 7X/week to male and female rats (153X MRHD based on weekly AUC comparisons).
In a dermal mouse carcinogenicity study, imiquimod cream (up to 5 mg/kg/application imiquimod or 0.3% imiquimod cream) was applied to the backs of mice 3X/week for 24 months. A statistically significant increase in the incidence of liver adenomas and carcinomas was noted in high dose male mice compared to control male mice (251X MRHD based on weekly AUC comparisons). An increased number of skin papillomas was observed in vehicle cream control group animals at the treated site only. The quantitative composition of the vehicle cream used in the dermal mouse carcinogenicity study is the same as the vehicle cream used for Aldara Cream, minus the active moiety (imiquimod).
In a 52-week dermal photoco-carcinogenicity study, the median time to onset of skin tumor formation was decreased in hairless mice following chronic topical dosing (3X/week; 40 weeks of treatment followed by 12 weeks of observation) with concurrent exposure to UV radiation (5 days per week) with the Aldara Cream vehicle alone. No additional effect on tumor development beyond the vehicle effect was noted with the addition of the active ingredient, imiquimod, to the vehicle cream.
Imiquimod revealed no evidence of mutagenic or clastogenic potential based on the results of five in vitro genotoxicity tests (Ames assay, mouse lymphoma L5178Y assay, Chinese hamster ovary cell chromosome aberration assay, human lymphocyte chromosome aberration assay and SHE cell transformation assay) and three in vivo genotoxicity tests (rat and hamster bone marrow cytogenetics assay and a mouse dominant lethal test).
Daily oral administration of imiquimod to rats, throughout mating, gestation, parturition and lactation, demonstrated no effects on growth, fertility or reproduction, at doses up to 87X MRHD based on AUC comparisons.