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Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2011 Sep;119(8):472-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1279713. Epub 2011 Aug 2.

The evidence for the use of growth factors and active skin substitutes for the treatment of non-infected diabetic foot ulcers (DFU): a health technology assessment (HTA).

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  • 1University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.



Assessment of the safety, efficacy and effectiveness of growth factors alone or in combination with other technologies in the treatment of DFU including medical, economical, social, ethical and juridical aspects.


We systematically searched relevant data bases limited to English and German language and publications since 1990. Review and assessment of the quality of publications followed methods conforming to widely accepted standards for evidence-based medicine and health economics.


We identified 25 studies comparing becaplermin, rhEGF, bFGF and the metabolically active skin grafts Dermagraft and Apligraf with standard wound care (SWC) alone or extracellular wound matrix. Study duration ranged from 12 to 20 weeks and the study population comprised between 17 and 382 patients. Treatment with becaplermin, rhEGF, Dermagraft and Apligraf resulted in a higher incidence of complete wound closure and shorter time to complete wound healing with statistically significant differences. Regarding the proportion of adverse events there was no difference between treatment groups. The methodological quality of the studies was affected by significant deficiencies. Economic evaluations showed becaplermin being cost-effective.


Add-on therapy with growth factors and active skin substitutes for treating uncomplicated DFU could be an alternative to SWC alone. For explicit recommendations further studies with stronger evidence are necessary.

© J. A. Barth Verlag in Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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