The inhibiting effects of itraconazole, an antifungal drug on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) have recently been discovered. By inhibiting VEGF, itraconazole has shown potential in clinical trials as anti-cancer treatment. In hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) patients, VEGF levels are elevated and inhibition of VEGF can decrease bleeding. Itraconazole could potentially serve as anti-angiogenic therapy for HHT-related bleeding. We report a proof of concept study with HHT patients and severe epistaxis. Patients were treated with daily 200 mg orally administered itraconazole for sixteen weeks. Twenty-one HHT patients, 8 females (38%), 13 males (62%), median age of 59 years (interquartile range (IQR) 55–69) were enrolled. Of these patients, 13 (62%) were diagnosed with HHT type 1, seven (33%) with HHT type 2 and in one patient (5%), no pathognomonic HHT mutation was found. Four patients (19%) prematurely terminated the study (3 due to mild or moderate side-effects) resulting in 17 patients included in the analyses. The median epistaxis severity score significantly decreased during treatment from 6.0 (IQR 5.1–7.2) to 3.8 (IQR 3.1–5.2) (p = 0.006). The monthly epistaxis frequency decreased from 56 to 38 epistaxis episodes (p = 0.004) and the monthly duration from 407 to 278 minutes (p = 0.005). Hemoglobin levels did not significantly change. The quality of life showed a small but significant improvement. In conclusion, oral itraconazole significantly improved epistaxis in HHT patients. The potential benefit of itraconazole in HHT should be further investigated.
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Activin A receptor like type 1
Argon plasma coagulation
Epistaxis severity score
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
Mental component summary
Multidimensional fatigue inventory 20
Physical component summary
Red blood cell
Severe adverse event
Short Form Health Survey 36
Vascular endothelial growth factor
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Kroon, S., Snijder, R.J., Hosman, A.E. et al. Oral itraconazole for epistaxis in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia: a proof of concept study. Angiogenesis (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10456-020-09758-2
- Telangiectasia, Hereditary hemorrhagic
- Vascular endothelial growth factors