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Repurposing propranolol as a drug for the treatment of retinal haemangioblastomas in von Hippel-Lindau disease

AuthorsAlbiñana, Virginia ; Jiménez Escribano, Rosa María; Soler, Isabel; Rodríguez Padial, Luis; Recio-Poveda, Lucía ; Villar Gómez de las Heras, Karina; Botella, Luisa María
Keywordsvon Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL)
Hypoxia inducible factor
Retinal haemangioblastoma
Juxtapapillary and peripheral haemangioblastoma
Issue Date29-Jun-2017
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 12(1): 122 (2017)
Abstract[Background] Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is a rare oncological disease with an incidence of 1:36,000, and is characterized by the growth of different types of tumours. Haemangioblastomas in the central nervous system (CNS) and retina, renal carcinoma and pheochromocytomas are the most common tumours. The absence of treatment for VHL leads to the need of repeated surgeries as the only option for these patients. Targeting VHL-derived tumours with drugs with reduced side effects is urgent to avoid repeated CNS surgeries. Recent reports have demonstrated that propranolol, a β-blocker used for the treatment of hypertension and other cardiac and neurological diseases, is the best option for infantile hemangioma (IH). Propranolol could be an efficient treatment to control haemangioblastoma growth in VHL disease given its antiangiogenic effects that were recently demonstrated by us. The main objective of the present study was the assessment of the efficacy and safety of propranolol on retinal haemangioblastoma in von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL).
[Methods] 7 VHL patients, from different regions of Spain, affected from juxtapapillary or peripheral haemangioblastomas were administered 120 mg propranolol daily. Patients were evaluated every 3 months for 12 months, at Virgen de la Salud Hospital (Toledo). The patients had juxtapapillary or peripheral haemangioblastomas but had refused standard treatments.
[Results] Propranolol was initiated with a progressive increase up to a final dose of 120 mg daily. All tumours remained stable, and no new tumours appeared. The reabsorption of retinal exudation was noted in the two patients having exudates. No adverse effects were recorded. VEGF and miRNA 210 levels were monitored in the plasma of patients as possible biomarkers of VHL. These levels decreased in all cases from the first month of treatment.
[Conclusions] Although more studies are necessary, the results of this work suggest that propranolol is a drug to be considered in the treatment of VHL patients with retinal haemangioblastomas. VEGF and miRNA 210 could be used as biomarkers of the VHL disease activity.
[Trial registration] The study has a clinical trial design and was registered at EU Clinical Trials Register and Spanish Clinical Studies Registry, EudraCT Number: 2014–003671-30 . Registered 2 September 2014.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-017-0664-7
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