Treatment of psoriasis with topical sirolimus: preclinical development and a randomized, double-blind trial

Anthony Ormerod, S.A.A. Shah, P Copeland, G Omar, A Winfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Systemically administered sirolimus has demonstrated efficacy in psoriasis in a multicentre European study. OBJECTIVES: To determine the efficacy and safety of topically applied sirolimus in treating psoriasis. METHODS: In vitro studies were followed by a pilot study designed to determine if sirolimus penetrates human skin, and by a randomized, double-blind, left-right comparative, dose-ranging study consisting of treatment with 2.2% sirolimus for 6 weeks and 8% sirolimus for an additional 6 weeks in 24 patients with stable, chronic plaque psoriasis. The primary outcome measure was clinical score. Secondary measures were ultrasound plaque thickness, plaque erythema, and computerized image analysis of immunohistochemical stains for immunocytes and proliferating cells. Pharmacokinetics and blood chemistry monitoring for safety were also performed. RESULTS: A significant reduction in the clinical score (P = 0.03) (mean score 9.1 following sirolimus vs. 11.2 in control) was achieved with topical sirolimus. Measurements of plaque thickness and erythema did not show significant improvement with treatment. Computerized image analysis of biopsies showed a significant reduction in CD4+ cells (P = 0.0054) and proliferating cells (stained by Ki-67) in the epidermis (P = 0.0153) with sirolimus treatment compared with control. CONCLUSIONS: Topically applied sirolimus penetrates normal skin and may have some antipsoriatic and immunosuppressive activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-764
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number4
Early online date24 Mar 2005
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005


  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psoriasis
  • Sirolimus
  • Skin
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Immunosuppressant
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Therapy
  • Topical
  • Assay
  • Immunosuppressant
  • Pyoderma-Gangrenosum
  • Tacrolimus Ointment
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Cyclosporine-A
  • Rapamycin
  • Reduction
  • Efficacy
  • Lesions


Dive into the research topics of 'Treatment of psoriasis with topical sirolimus: preclinical development and a randomized, double-blind trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this