Information about cause, treatment, and prevention

Immunotherapy Options for Keloid Scars

Injectable and topical immunotherapy drugs may help treat keloid scars.

Immunotherapeutic drugs (e.g., tacrolimus, interferon, and imiquimod) regulate the immune system typically by inhibiting inflammatory reactions. These substances include antibodies and proteins that are normally produced by immune system cells, and have been used to treat many health conditions (e.g., cancer, inflammatory skin diseases, and rejection of organ transplants).32-33

Keloids are essentially a complex, abnormal inflammatory process that encourages the production and accumulation of collagen-producing cells. By helping to regulate this abnormal reaction, immunotherapy drugs may be useful in preventing recurrence or initial formation of keloids, and perhaps even treating existing keloids. In animal models, use of an antibody with known anti-inflammatory effects has been shown to decrease scar formation.5,17

Reports of successful use of these drugs on keloids in humans show mixed results, with some therapies more effective than others. Other concerns include the high cost, as well as pain and other side effects.

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