Effective Control of Recalcitrant Pruritus by Bevacizumab: A Possible Role for Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Chronic Itch?
Karoline Krause, Clemens Krull, Birgit Kessler, Bernhard Lange-Asschenfeldt, Marcus Maurer, Martin Metz
Prurigo is a difficult to treat condition characterized by severe pruritus presenting with chronic secondary scratch lesions. We report here a dramatic improvement in pruritus in a patient with prurigo simplex who was being treated with bevacizumab, a monoclonal vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody. On the basis of the increased VEGF expression measured in the skin of this patient, serum levels of VEGF were subsequently analysed in 27 consecutive patients with prurigo and 19 healthy controls. VEGF levels were significantly increased in the serum of patients with prurigo. Moreover, VEGF concentrations correlated with physician-assessed disease activity. Based on these observations, we speculate that VEGF is involved in the pathophysiology of prurigo.