Effects of interferon-alpha2b on keloid treatment with triamcinolone acetonide intralesional injection

Int J Dermatol. 2008 Feb;47(2):183-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2008.03426.x.


Background: Triamcinolone acetonide intralesional injection (TAIL) has been used for the treatment of keloids, but only with limited success. Interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) is the most widely used IFN, and has mainly antiviral, antiproliferative, and antitumoral functions. A few studies have evaluated the efficacy of IFN-alpha2b in controlled trials for the treatment of keloids.

Objective: To compare the efficacy and side-effects of keloid treatment using IFN-alpha2b and TAIL, and TAIL only.

Methods: Twenty lesions (combined TAIL + IFN-alpha2b group) and 20 control lesions (TAIL-only group) were studied in 19 patients (14 women and five men). The age range was 7-51 years (mean age, 24.6 years). Both groups were treated with TAIL every 2 weeks. The combined TAIL + IFN-alpha2b group was treated with intralesional injection of IFN-alpha2b, twice a week. Lesion measurements were made using thread, glue, and alginate.

Results: Statistically significant decreases in depth (81.6%, P = 0.005) and volume (86.6%, P = 0.002) were observed in lesions of the combined TAIL + IFN-alpha2b group. In the TAIL-only group, the decreases in depth (66.0%, P = 0.281) and volume (73.4%, P = 0.245) were less statistically significant. The main side-effects were fever and flu-like symptoms, mild pain, and inflammation at the injection site.

Conclusions: Intralesional IFN-alpha2b is an effective and safe treatment for keloids. Although the recurrence rate is as yet unknown, more than 80% improvement was noted in the majority of cases. Hence, adjuvant intralesional IFN-alpha2b should be considered, particularly for patients who have a history of failed corticosteroid injections.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intralesional
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Keloid / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / therapeutic use*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide