RESEARCH ARTICLE


Basal Cell Carcinoma Destruction by a Concentrate of Proteolytic Enzymes Enriched in Bromelain: A Preliminary Report



Lior Rosenberg1, *, Adam J Singer2, Yaron Shoham1
1 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Soroka University Medical Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba, Israel
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA


© 2021 Rosenberg et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Soroka University Medical Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba, Israel; E-mai: liorr@mediwound.com


Abstract

Objectives:

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer generally treated by a variety of surgical and non-surgical destructive therapies. A Concentrate of Proteolytic Enzymes Enriched in Bromelain (CPEEB) derived from the stems of pineapples is approved for use for debriding deep burns. Prior studies suggest that bromelain also has anti-tumor effects. We describe our preliminary off-label treatment experience using topical CPEEB for the destruction of six BCCs in three patients.

Methods:

CPEEB was self-applied by three patients on six different Morphea, nodular, and superficially invasive BCCs. The CPEEB was applied as a thin layer prior to bedtime and left for a period of 9-12 hours. The wound was then covered with a petrolatum-based ointment for the next 24 hours. Application of the CPEEB was repeated up to 5 times over the course of 10 days, during which the patients were monitored daily and reevaluated by a board-certified plastic surgeon. If necessary, the CPEEB was reapplied up to five additional times over the next 10-day period. If necessary, any remaining lesion was surgically excised (MOHS surgery). The patients were then followed for up to 1 year.

Results:

Six BCCs located on the face, neck, and extremities were self-treated by three patients with 2-6 CPEEB applications. All of the BCCs were completely removed after the CPEEB application. CPEEB application was associated with local irritation and mild itching pain which resolved untreated within hours. In one patient, two of the lesion’s sites were surgically excised after 6 months with no tumor cells noted on histopathology. None of the BCCs recurred over the next 1 year.

Conclusion:

Our preliminary findings are a proof-of-concept that a concentrate of proteolytic enzymes enriched in bromelain may be a safe and effective destructive treatment for basal cell carcinomas. Future studies on larger groups of BCC patients are necessary in order to elucidate the potential use of CPEEB for this indication.

Keywords: Basal cell carcinomas, Proteolytic enzymes, Treatment, Tumor cells, Lesions, Itching pain.