IFN-alpha-2B Injections Helpful in Peyronie's Disease

Laurie Barclay, MD

February 13, 2004

Feb. 13, 2004 — Interferon-alpha-2B (IFN-alpha-2B) injected into the plaque may improve the symptoms associated with Peyronie's disease, according to the results of a study published in the January issue of the Southern Medical Journal.

"Intralesional therapies provide an alternative to surgical treatment of Peyronie's disease (PD)," write Gerald Dang, MD, and colleagues from Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. "On the basis of dermatologic in vitro fibroblast studies demonstrating inhibition of fibrosis by interferons, clinical research has focused on intralesional interferons for the treatment of PD."

Of 25 patients enrolled, 21 patients (average age, 55.8 years) completed the study. Ten of the 21 men had diabetes, hypertension, or both. All 21 patients received biweekly injections of 2 x 10 6 U IFN-alpha-2B for six weeks before reevaluation, and seven patients also received placebo injections of 10 mL saline biweekly for six weeks before interferon therapy.

On duplex Doppler ultrasonography, 14 (67%) of 21 men had improvements of 20% or more in penile curvature. Peak systolic blood flow improved in three (43%) of seven men with baseline hemodynamic impairment, and veno-occlusive disease resolved in three (18%) of 17 men. Plaque size subjectively decreased in 15 (71%) of 21 men, and penile pain decreased in eight (80%) of 10 men.

Of the 21 men who completed the study, 14 completed the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire to assess severity of erectile dysfunction (ED) before and after treatment. Five (71%) of seven men with baseline moderate to severe ED had significant improvement on this questionnaire.

"IFN-alpha-2B injections led to significant improvements in penile pain and curvature caused by PD," the authors write. "Results of intralesional IFN-alpha-2B injections in improving ED are encouraging. The study findings warrant further investigation of the effectiveness of IFN-alpha-2B injections for treatment of PD."

South Med J. 2004;97:42-46

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD