Corneal Superficial Plaque Formation After Recombinant Human Nerve Growth Factor Use in a Patient With Neurotrophic Keratopathy and Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency From Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid

Cornea. 2023 Nov 27. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000003442. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to report a rare observation of corneal superficial plaque formation after topical recombinant human nerve growth factor (rhNGF) treatment for a nonhealing epithelial defect in a patient with advanced mucous membrane pemphigoid, limbal stem cell deficiency, and neurotrophic keratopathy.

Methods: This study was a case report.

Results: A 72-year-old man with a complex course of mucous membrane pemphigoid, leading to cicatrizing keratoconjunctivits, limbal stem cell deficiency, and neurotrophic keratopathy presented with a recurrent persistent epithelial defect in the right eye. After a long course of unsuccessful epithelial healing, despite various treatment modalities, he was administered topical rhNGF (cenegermin 0.002%; Oxervate, Dompé US Inc., Boston, MA) which successfully resolved the epithelial defect. However, on day 22 posttreatment, an unusual white, thick, adherent corneal superficial plaque formed. rhNGF was stopped and the plaque was carefully removed. Subsequently, there was no recurrence, and the patient's epithelial healing remained stable.

Conclusions: Although the successful resolution of the persistent epithelial defect with rhNGF administration was notable, the development of the unusual epithelial overgrowth emphasizes the importance of vigilant monitoring and evaluation when using rhNGF in complex ocular conditions. Making informed decisions on the timing of discontinuing rhNGF can lead to desirable effects of the drug while mitigating additional side effects when managing such challenging cases.