BACKGROUND: Keloid scarring is a pathologic proliferation of scar tissue that often causes pruritus, pain, and disfigurement. Keloids can be difficult to treat and have a high risk of recurrence. Recent studies have shown promising results in the treatment of cutaneous metastases with intralesional calcium combined with electroporation (calcium electroporation). As calcium electroporation has shown limited side effects it has advantages when treating benign keloid lesions, and on this indication we performed a phase I study.
METHODS: Patients with keloids were treated with at least 1 session of calcium electroporation and followed up for 2 years. Calcium was administered intralesionally (220 mM) followed by the application of eight 100-µs pulses (400 V) using linear-array electrodes and Cliniporator (IGEA, Italy). Treatment efficacy was evaluated clinically (size, shape, erythema), by patient self-assessment (pruritus, pain, other) and assessed histologically.
RESULTS: Six patients were included in this small proof of concept study. Treatment was well tolerated, with all patients requesting further treatment. Two out of 6 patients experienced a decrease in keloid thickness over 30%. A mean reduction of 11% was observed in volume size, and a mean flattening of 22% was observed (not statistically significant). Five out of 6 patients reported decreased pain and pruritus. No serious adverse effects or recurrences were observed over a mean follow-up period of 338 days.
CONCLUSION: In this first phase I clinical study on calcium electroporation for keloids, treatment was found to be safe with minor side effects. Overall, patients experienced symptom relief, and in some patients keloid thickness was reduced.