Regression of infancy hemangiomas with recombinant IFN-alpha 2b

J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2001 Jan;21(1):31-8. doi: 10.1089/107999001459132.


Interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) has antitumor and antiangiogenic effects. The purpose of this work was to evaluate its efficacy and safety in the treatment of infancy hemangioma and to monitor the appearance of anti-IFN antibodies in these patients. Thirty-nine children (29 girls) aged 1.5-158 months, with 19 younger than 1 year and 9 older than 5, were treated with 3 x 10(6) IU/m(2) IFN-alpha 2b, subcutaneously (s.c.) daily. Inclusion criteria were life-threatening or life-limiting hemangioma and parents' informed consent. Regression was considered if tumor size diminished by 50% or more. Of the 38 patients who completed 6 months of treatment, 27 (71.1%) had regression and 11 (28.9%) had stable disease. No patient experienced progression. Regression was more frequent (100%) among patients between 1 and 5 years old, but it was particularly important (68%) among those under 1 year old, when spontaneous regression is rare. The main side effects were the IFN-related flulike syndrome (79%), increase in serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (28%), anorexia (19%), and mild inflammation at the injection site (19%). There was no effect on psychomotor or physical development. On the contrary, 1 patient with neurologic symptoms improved remarkably, including seizure disappearance. Eight patients developed anti-IFN-alpha 2 neutralizing antibodies, and 7 of them responded to IFN treatment. IFN-alpha 2b is a safe and efficacious treatment of infancy hemangioma. Further work should look for other treatment schedules and ways of administration and carefully monitor anti-IFN neutralizing antibodies, which does not seem to interfere with response.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male / therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Hemangioma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Remission Induction
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins