Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma: current knowledge and future perspectives

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2020 Feb 3;15(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s13023-020-1320-1.


Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma (KHE) is a rare vascular neoplasm with high morbidity and mortality. The initiating mechanism during the pathogenesis of KHE has yet to be discovered. The main pathological features of KHE are abnormal angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. KHEs are clinically heterogeneous and may develop into a life-threatening thrombocytopenia and consumptive coagulopathy, known as the Kasabach-Merritt phenomenon (KMP). The heterogeneity and the highly frequent occurrence of disease-related comorbidities make the management of KHE challenging. Currently, there are no medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of KHE. Multiple treatment regimens have been used with varying success, and new clinical trials are in progress. In severe patients, multiple agents with variable adjuvant therapies are given in sequence or in combination. Recent studies have demonstrated a satisfactory efficacy of sirolimus, an inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin, in the treatment of KHE. Novel targeted treatments based on a better understanding of the pathogenesis of KHE are needed to maximize patient outcomes and quality of life. This review summarizes the epidemiology, etiology, pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnosis and treatments of KHE. Recent new concepts and future perspectives for KHE will also be discussed.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma; Kasabach-Merritt phenomenon; Lymphangiogenesis; Treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Hemangioendothelioma* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kasabach-Merritt Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Kasabach-Merritt Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi

Supplementary concepts

  • Kaposiform Hemangioendothelioma