Study: Topical platelet growth factor does not improve healing of diabetic foot ulcers

A study of the efficacy of topical platelet derived growth factor in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers found that it did not appear to significantly improve healing in comparison with a placebo, according to results published in Wounds.

Researchers conducted a randomized, controlled trial of 46 patients with Wagner grade I ulcers and a wound area of 1 cm² to 16 cm². A fiberglass cast was applied to all participants at randomization with a window slightly larger than the study wound dimensions. Study therapy was conducted for 4 months, with a final follow-up visit scheduled after healing or 10 months after randomization if the wound was not healed at 4 months.

Results showed no significant difference in healing rates at 4 months between patients in the control group and the test group (47% and 52%, respectively). Additionally, no significant difference was observed in time to wound healing. Median time to healing was 97 days for the test group and 91 days for the control group.

New cast-related ulcers or cast burns developed in areas of skin that were undamaged at study entry in five participants – three in the test group and two in the control group. Two other participants required amputation – one in the test group and one in the control group.

The researchers reported their results show that “the efficacy of the off-loading regimen is much more important than the topical treatment regimen, and when off-loading is close to optimal, differences in the efficacy of topical agents employed have minimal impact on healing rates.” However, the question remains whether advanced local methods partly ameliorate the impact of suboptimal off-loading but fail to improve the results when optimal off-loading is employed, the researchers stated. They recommended further research into whether or not casting in combination with other advanced topical regimens provides a superior synergistic approach.


Ma C, et al. Wounds. 2015; 27(4):83-91.

Disclosure: The authors report Heritage Medical Research Institute of the Heritage Provider Network Inc. funded the study, however, the sponsor had no influence on the collection and interpretation of data or the writing of the manuscript.

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