Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Glucocorticoids (GCs) are first-line treatment for keloid disease (KD) but are limited by high incidence of resistance, recurrence and undesirable side-effects. Identifying patient responsiveness early could guide therapy. METHODS: Nineteen patients with KD were recruited at week 0 (before treatment) and received intralesional steroids. At weeks 0, 2 and 4, noninvasive imaging and biopsies were performed. Responsiveness was determined by clinical response and a significant reduction in vascular perfusion following steroid treatment, using full-field laser perfusion imaging (FLPI). Responsiveness was also evaluated using (i) spectrophotometric intracutaneous analysis to quantify changes in collagen and melanin and (ii) histology to identify changes in epidermal thickness and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) expression. Biopsies were used to quantify changes in glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression using quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: At week 2, the FLPI was used to separate patients into steroid responsive (n = 12) and nonresponsive groups (n = 7). All patients demonstrated a significant decrease in GAG at week 2 (P < 0.05). At week 4, responsive patients exhibited significant reduction in melanin, GAG, epidermal thickness (all P < 0.05) and a continued reduction in perfusion (P < 0.001) compared with nonresponders. Steroid-responsive patients had increased GR expression at baseline and showed autoregulation of GR compared with nonresponders, who showed no change in GR transcription or protein. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first demonstration that keloid response to steroids can be measured objectively using noninvasive imaging. FLPI is a potentially reliable tool to stratify KD responsiveness. Altered GR expression may be the mechanism gating therapeutic response.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Dermatol

Publication Date





690 - 700


Adult, Analysis of Variance, Cicatrix, Female, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Keloid, Male, Middle Aged, Receptors, Glucocorticoid, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Steroids, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult