Electrosclerotherapy for Capillary Malformations

2016-08-31 15:23:22 | BioPortfolio


Capillary malformations (port-wine stains) consist of abnormally developed capillary blood vessels in the skin. To date, laser therapy is the only widely accepted treatment modality for capillary malformations, but this therapy has a suboptimal effect in approximately 50-60% of patients.

Intralesional bleomycin injections (sclerotherapy) are a common effective treatment option for vascular malformations with blood vessels with larger diameters. However, bleomycin cannot be injected adequately in the small sized vessels of capillary malformations. The use of an electric field over the tissue (electroporation) may solve this problem: it increases cell membrane permeability and therefore promotes localized delivery of drugs, within (endothelial) cells.

Electroporation in combination with bleomycin sclerotherapy ('electrosclerotherapy') may therefore offer new therapeutic options for capillary malformations. This proof of principle study aims to explore the effectiveness, safety and feasibility of this potential treatment option in a within-patient-controlled pilot study.


Capillary malformations are congenital abnormalities of the capillaries in the skin. These abnormally developed blood vessels cause a red color of the skin (also known as 'port-wine stain'),often in combination with a cobble-stone like aspect of the skin. Currently, the only widely accepted treatment option is laser therapy, in which the abnormal blood vessels are targeted with photocoagulation. However, in approximately 50-60% of patients, treatment outcome of laser therapy is suboptimal. Furthermore, re-darkening of the capillary malformation often occurs after laser therapy. Hence, there is a need for an alternative treatment option - especially for treatment-resistant and recurrent capillary malformations.

Intralesional bleomycin injections (sclerotherapy) are a common treatment option for vascular malformations of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels with a larger diameter (venous and lymphatic malformations). According to the literature, this treatment is effective in approximately 80-90% of patients. Unfortunately, the diameter of capillary blood vessels is too small, and therefore adequate localized injections of bleomycin are not possible in capillary malformations.

'Electroporation' is a physical phenomenon that causes an alteration of the structure of cell membranes through the exposure of cells to a short but intense electric field; this modification of the cell membrane increases its permeability. After electroporation, molecules that normally do not cross the cell membrane, either by diffusion or by active transport, can reach the intracellular environment. Therefore, electroporation is an ideal method for localized drug delivery, in particular for localized bleomycin delivery.

The combination of electroporation and bleomycin is already used in a variety of skin lesions, such as squamous cell carcinoma, with a surprisingly high rate of complete remission. Especially in vascular tumors, such as Kaposi sarcoma, there is an extremely high percentage of complete remission (90%), since the combination of bleomycin and electroporation causes a 'vascular lock' and intravascular thrombosis of tumor vascularization, leading to tumor regression.

This phenomenon (intravascular thrombosis and lesion regression) is exactly the intended effect of capillary malformation treatment.

The investigators therefore hypothesize that intralesional bleomycin injections combined with electroporation (electrosclerotherapy) can be an alternative treatment option for capillary malformations. This proof of principle study aims to explore the feasibility of this potential treatment option in a small patient sample.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Capillary Malformations


Electrosclerotherapy, Intralesional bleomycin injection


Academic Medical Center (AMC)


Not yet recruiting


Academisch Medisch Centrum - Universiteit van Amsterdam (AMC-UvA)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-08-31T15:23:22-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A complex of related glycopeptide antibiotics from Streptomyces verticillus consisting of bleomycin A2 and B2. It inhibits DNA metabolism and is used as an antineoplastic, especially for solid tumors.

A congenital disorder that is characterized by a triad of capillary malformations (HEMANGIOMA), venous malformations (ARTERIOVENOUS FISTULA), and soft tissue or bony hypertrophy of the limb. This syndrome is caused by mutations in the VG5Q gene which encodes a strong angiogenesis stimulator.

A spectrum of congenital, inherited, or acquired abnormalities in BLOOD VESSELS that can adversely affect the normal blood flow in ARTERIES or VEINS. Most are congenital defects such as abnormal communications between blood vessels (fistula), shunting of arterial blood directly into veins bypassing the CAPILLARIES (arteriovenous malformations), formation of large dilated blood blood-filled vessels (cavernous angioma), and swollen capillaries (capillary telangiectases). In rare cases, vascular malformations can result from trauma or diseases.

Hemorrhagic necrosis that was first demonstrated in rabbits with a two-step reaction, an initial local (intradermal) or general (intravenous) injection of a priming endotoxin (ENDOTOXINS) followed by a second intravenous endotoxin injection (provoking agent) 24 h later. The acute inflammation damages the small blood vessels. The following intravascular coagulation leads to capillary and venous THROMBOSIS and NECROSIS. Shwartzman phenomenon can also occur in other species with a single injection of a provoking agent, and during infections or pregnancy. Its susceptibility depends on the status of IMMUNE SYSTEM, coagulation, FIBRINOLYSIS, and blood flow.

An antineoplastic agent derived from BLEOMYCIN.

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