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Enhanced port-wine stain lightening achieved with combined treatment of selective photothermolysis and imiquimod.

  • Author(s): Tremaine, Anne Marie;
  • Armstrong, Jennifer;
  • Huang, Yu-Chih;
  • Elkeeb, Leila;
  • Ortiz, Arisa;
  • Harris, Ronald;
  • Choi, Bernard;
  • Kelly, Kristen M
  • et al.
Abstract

Background

Pulsed dye laser (PDL) is the gold standard for treatment of port-wine stain (PWS) birthmarks but multiple treatments are required and complete resolution is often not achieved. Posttreatment vessel recurrence is thought to be a factor that limits efficacy of PDL treatment of PWS. Imiquimod 5% cream is an immunomodulator with antiangiogenic effects.

Objective

We sought to determine if application of imiquimod 5% cream after PDL improves treatment outcome.

Methods

Healthy individuals with PWS (n = 24) were treated with PDL and then randomized to apply posttreatment placebo or imiquimod 5% cream for 8 weeks. Chromameter measurements (Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage L∗a∗b∗ colorspace) for 57 PWS sites (multiple sites per patient) were taken at baseline and compared with measurements taken 8 weeks posttreatment. The Δa∗ (change in erythema) and ΔE (difference in color between normal-appearing skin and PWS skin) were measured to quantify treatment outcome.

Results

Two patients developed minor skin irritation. Other adverse effects were not noted. Average ∆a∗ was 0.43 for PDL + placebo sites (n = 25) and 1.27 for PDL + imiquimod sites (n = 32) (P value = .0294) indicating a greater reduction in erythema with imiquimod. Average ∆E was 2.59 for PDL + placebo and 4.08 for PDL + imiquimod (P value = .0363), again indicating a greater color improvement with imiquimod.

Limitations

Effects were evaluated after a single treatment and duration of effect is unknown.

Conclusion

Combined selective photothermolysis and antiangiogenic therapy may enhance PWS treatment efficacy.

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