GLUT1: a newly discovered immunohistochemical marker for juvenile hemangiomas

Hum Pathol. 2000 Jan;31(1):11-22. doi: 10.1016/s0046-8177(00)80192-6.


Juvenile hemangiomas are common, benign vascular tumors of infancy. These lesions enlarge rapidly through cellular hyperplasia during the first year of life and then involute over several years. Distinctive histopathologic features of hemangiomas diminish during this evolution, and differentiation from vascular malformations becomes increasingly difficult. This distinction has important therapeutic implications, as juvenile hemangiomas differ from malformations in natural history and in potential for recurrence. We report here that high endothelial immunoreactivity for the erythrocyte-type glucose transporter protein GLUT1 is a specific feature of juvenile hemangiomas during all phases of these lesions. In a retrospective study, we found intense endothelial GLUT1 immunoreactivity, involving more than 50% of lesional microvessels, in 97% (139 of 143) of juvenile hemangiomas from patients aged 1 month to 11 years. No endothelial GLUT1 immunoreactivity was found in any of 66 vascular malformations (17 arteriovenous, 33 venous, 11 lymphatic, and 5 port-wine) from patients aged 5 days to 75 years, or in any of 20 pyogenic granulomas or 7 granulation tissue specimens. Abundant Ki-67 positivity in these latter lesions established that GLUT1 expression does not simply reflect mitotically active endothelium. Focal GLUT1 immunoreactivity was found in 3 of 12 angiosarcomas, but not in any of 5 hemangioendotheliomas (epithelioid or infantile kaposiform). These findings establish GLUT1 immunoreactivity as a highly selective and diagnostically useful marker for juvenile hemangiomas. Because high levels of endothelial GLUT1 expression in normal tissue are restricted to microvessels with blood-tissue barrier function, these findings also have implications for the molecular and developmental pathogenic mechanisms of juvenile hemangiomas.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Vessels / abnormalities
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Congenital Abnormalities / metabolism
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Granulation Tissue / metabolism
  • Granuloma, Pyogenic / metabolism
  • Hemangioendothelioma / metabolism
  • Hemangioma / metabolism*
  • Hemangiosarcoma / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Lymphatic System / abnormalities
  • Middle Aged
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • SLC2A1 protein, human