What is the role of bleomycin in the treatment of keloids and hypertrophic scars?

Updated: May 29, 2020
  • Author: Brian Berman, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Bleomycin injections cause necrosis of keratinocytes with a mixed inflammatory infiltrate. Several studies have demonstrated that bleomycin can be used effectively to treat keloids and hypertrophic scars.

Bleomycin was given at a concentration of 1.5 IU/mL to 13 patients using the multiple-puncture method. Bleomycin was dripped onto the lesion, and then multiple punctures were made on the lesions using a syringe. Seven patients had complete flattening, 5 patients had highly significant flattening, and 1 patient had significant flattening. Likewise, Espana et al also reported complete flattening in 6 of 13 patients, highly significant flattening in 6 of 13 patients, and significant flattening in a single patient. Two patients presented a recurrence as a small nodule 10 and 12 months after the last infiltration. [31]

In another study of 31 keloids, patients were treated with 3-5 infiltrates of bleomycin within a 1-month period. Total regression occurred in 84% of the keloids, and both keloid volume and functional impairment were reduced.

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