Progressive growth of infantile cutaneous hemangiomas is directly correlated with hyperplasia and angiogenesis of adjacent epidermis and inversely correlated with expression of the endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor, IFN-beta

Int J Oncol. 1999 Mar;14(3):401-8. doi: 10.3892/ijo.14.3.401.


Cutaneous infantile hemangioma progresses through proliferation and involution phases. Since treatment with interferon, a negative regulator of angiogenesis, accelerates the involution phase, we hypothesized that cutaneous infantile hemangioma is associated with an imbalance between endogenous positive and negative regulators of angiogenesis. We examined 30 specimens of cutaneous hemangioma [proliferative phase (n=15), involuting phase (n=8), and involuted phase (n=7)] and control human skin (n=17), fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. Routine histology, immunohistochemistry, and an mRNA in situ hybridization technique were used to measure expression of the positive angiogenic molecules basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor (VEGF/VPF), and an endogenous inhibitor of angiogenesis, interferon-beta (IFN-beta). Proliferative phase hemangiomas expressed high levels of bFGF and VEGF/VPF but not IFN-beta (mRNA and protein). The epidermis directly overlying proliferating hemangiomas was hyperplastic, contained numerous dividing cells, and expressed bFGF and VEGF/VPF but not IFN-beta. Epidermis from normal individuals and epidermis directly overlying involuted tumors or at sites distant to the proliferating hemangioma was not hyperplastic and expressed normal levels of bFGF, VEGF/VPF, and IFN-beta. These data suggest that the proliferation of cutaneous hemangiomas and adjacent epidermis is associated with an imbalance between positive and negative angiogenic factors expressed by the neoplasm and adjacent normal tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / genetics
  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / metabolism
  • Cell Division
  • Disease Progression
  • Down-Regulation
  • Epidermis / pathology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / metabolism
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interferon-beta / biosynthesis*
  • Interferon-beta / physiology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Interferon-beta