A case study to evaluate the treatment of vitiligo with khellin encapsulated in L-phenylalanin stabilized phosphatidylcholine liposomes in combination with ultraviolet light therapy

Eur J Dermatol. Sep-Oct 2003;13(5):474-7.


Vitiligo destroys the melanocytes in the epidermis; the inactive melanocytes in the outer root sheaths are not affected. Phosphatidylcholine liposomes are able to target molecules contained in them into the hair follicles. Khellin is activated by UVA and previous studies have shown that a combination of khellin and UVA (KUVA) can be effective in the treatment of vitiligo. The aim of this study was to determine in an open trial the efficacy and safety of treatment with khellin encapsulated in L-phenylalanine stabilized phosphatidylcholine liposomes in combination with UVA/UVB light therapy(KPLUV) in 74 subjects with vitiligo. After a mean treatment period of 12 months (range 10-14 months) 72% of the treated locations had a repigmentation response of 50% to 100%. Repigmentation of 75-100% was achieved on the face in 63%, the back in 59%, the arms in 58%, the trunk in 57%, the legs in 56% and on the hands in 4% of the patients. Side effects were not seen with KPLUV. The patients in the control group, only treated with UVA/B-light, hardly showed any repigmentation. This indicates that the exposure of the skin to UV light alone is not responsible for the results of KPLUV.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Capsules
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Khellin / administration & dosage*
  • Liposomes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenylalanine / administration & dosage
  • Phosphatidylcholines / administration & dosage*
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / methods*
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Vitiligo / drug therapy*


  • Capsules
  • Liposomes
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Phenylalanine
  • Khellin