Treatments for early-stage Dupuytren's disease: an evidence-based approach

J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2023 Mar;48(3):191-198. doi: 10.1177/17531934221131373. Epub 2023 Jan 13.


Current treatments for Dupuytren's disease are limited to late-stage disease when patients have developed flexion contractures and have impaired hand function. They all have limitations, including the risk of recurrence and complications. The use of treatments for early-stage disease, such as intralesional steroid injections or radiotherapy which lack a clear biological basis or evidence of effectiveness based robust randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trials, highlights the desire of patients to access treatments before they develop significant flexion contractures. A detailed understanding of the cellular landscape and molecular signalling in nodules of early-stage disease would permit the identification of potential therapeutic targets. This approach led to the identification of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) as a target. A phase 2a clinical trial identified 40 mg in 0.4 mL adalimumab as the most efficacious dose and a subsequent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled phase 2b trial showed that four intranodular injections at 3-month intervals resulted in decrease in nodule hardness and size on ultrasound scan at 12 months, and both parameters continued to decrease further at 18 months, 9 months after the final injection. This type of approach provides clinicians with a robust evidence base for advising their patients.

Keywords: Dupuytren’s disease; anti-TNF; early-stage; evidence-based; radiotherapy; steroids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dupuytren Contracture* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intralesional
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic