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Actinic keratosis, a frequent carcinoma in situ of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), can transform into life-threatening cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Current treatment is limited due to low complete clearance rates and asks for novel therapeutic concepts; the novel purine nucleotide analogue OxBu may be an option. In order to enhance skin penetration, solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN, 136-156 nm) were produced with an OxBu entrapment efficiency of 96.5 ± 0.1%. For improved preclinical evaluation, we combined tissue engineering with clinically used keratin-18 quantification. Three doses of 10(-3) mol/l OxBu, dissolved in phosphate-buffered saline as well as loaded to SLN, were effective on reconstructed NMSC. Tumour response and apoptosis induction were evaluated by an increase in caspase-cleaved fragment of keratin-18, caspase-7 activation as well as by reduced expression of matrix metallopeptidase-2 and Ki-67. OxBu efficacy was superior to equimolar 5-fluorouracil solution, and thus the drug should be subjected to the next step in preclinical evaluation. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.