Verification of the efficacy of topical sirolimus gel for systemic rare vascular malformations: a pilot study

J Dermatol. 2023 Dec;50(12):1619-1624. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.16930. Epub 2023 Aug 31.


Numerous clinical trials of sirolimus, an inhibitor of mechanistic/mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1, for the treatment of vascular malformations have been conducted. However, aside from lymphatic malformations, the efficacy of sirolimus for venous and capillary malformations has not been established. Moreover, no generalized venous or capillary malformations have been treated with topical sirolimus. To evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical sirolimus for venous and capillary malformations and to compare the efficacy of topical and systemic sirolimus therapy, an open-label single-arm pilot study with 0.2% sirolimus gel was conducted from July 19, 2019, to January 30, 2020, in four patients diagnosed with different vascular malformations (blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome, common venous malformation, phakomatosis pigmentovascularis type IVb, and angiokeratoma in Fabry disease). The primary endpoint was the safety evaluation of sirolimus gel. The main secondary endpoint was the improvement rate evaluated by the Central Judgment Committee at 12 weeks using photographs. No adverse events were observed. Blood sirolimus was not detected in any patient. Two patients (50%) had mild improvement, and the remaining two patients (50%) showed no change after 12 weeks of treatment. Blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome, a generalized venous malformation, showed the greatest response. In conclusion, 0.2% sirolimus gel was found to be as clinically effective as systemic sirolimus treatment in patients with venous and capillary malformations and more effective for early active lesions, even systemic venous malformations.

Keywords: Angiokeratoma in Fabry disease; blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome (BRBNS); pilot study; topical sirolimus gel; vascular malformations.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Nevus, Blue* / diagnosis
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sirolimus
  • Skin Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Vascular Malformations* / drug therapy


  • Sirolimus
  • Immunosuppressive Agents

Supplementary concepts

  • Blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome
  • Capillary Malformations, Congenital, 1