Treatment with LL-37 is safe and effective in enhancing healing of hard-to-heal venous leg ulcers: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Research paper by Alvar A Grönberg, Margit M Mahlapuu, Mona M Ståhle, Caroline C Whately-Smith, Ola O Rollman

Indexed on: 22 Jul '14Published on: 22 Jul '14Published in: Wound Repair and Regeneration


Venous leg ulcers (VLUs) are one of the most prevalent types of chronic wounds. The aim of this study was to determine the safety and dose-response efficacy of the human synthetic peptide LL-37 in the treatment of hard-to-heal VLUs. This first-in-man trial included 34 participants with VLUs and comprised a 3-week, open-label, run-in period on placebo, followed by a 4-week randomized double-blind treatment phase with twice weekly applications of LL-37 (0.5, 1.6, or 3.2 mg/mL) or placebo, and a 4-week follow-up. The healing rate constants for 0.5 and 1.6 mg/mL of LL-37 were approximately six- and threefold higher than for placebo (p = 0.003 for 0.5 mg/mL and p = 0.088 for 1.6 mg/mL). Square-root transformed wound area data showed improved healing for the 0.5 and 1.6 mg/mL dose groups compared with pretreatment values (p < 0.001 and p = 0.011, respectively). Consistently, treatment with the two lower doses markedly decreased the mean ulcer area (68% for 0.5 mg/mL and 50% for 1.6 mg/mL groups). No difference in healing was observed between the groups receiving 3.2 mg/mL of LL-37 and placebo. There were no safety concerns regarding local or systemic adverse events. In conclusion, topical treatment with LL-37 for chronic leg ulcers was safe and well tolerated with the marked effect on healing predictors at the two lower doses warranting further investigations.