Background: The purpose of the present study was to evalutate the various treatment modalities for Kasabach-Merritt syndrome (KMS) and to identify the most reliable treatment modalities.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on 37 KMS patients who were admitted to Seoul National University Hospital between January 1979 and June 1999. Age, sex, locations of the hemangiomas, clinical symptoms and hematologic data were analyzed by multivariate logistical regression analysis to determine the response to various treatment modalities.
Results: Twenty-four of 37 patients (20 boys and 17 girls) were diagnosed during infancy. The locations of hemangioma were superficial skin in 31 patients, combined skin and visceral organs in four patients and visceral organs only in two patients. Tumor size was more than 5 cm in diameter in all cases, except for one. The treatment principle of KMS in our center involves a stepwise multimodal approach. Of the 37 cases, surgical resection was performed in two. Steroids were tried initially in 35 patients over a 1 week period, with an initial response rate of 11.4% (4/35). Combined steroid/radiation treatment was given in 28 cases, with a response rate of 75.0% (21/28). Four of five patients with additional interferon (IFN)-alpha therapy improved. No significant correlations were found between the prognostic factors, such as age, sex, size and locations of the hemangioma, hematologic data and the treatment modalities.
Conclusions: Based on the experiences in a single center over a period of 20 years, we recommend a stepwise multimodal approach for the treatment of KMS; for example, steroid, radiation therapy and IFN-alpha in this order. However, surgical treatment is helpful if total resection is possible.