Successful management of an infant with a giant hemangioma of the retroperitoneum and Kasabach-Merritt syndrome with alpha-interferon

J Pediatr Surg. 1993 Oct;28(10):1356-7; discussion 1358-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(05)80327-6.


Giant vascular neoplasms in neonates generally require aggressive medical or surgical therapy for treatment of complications. Steroids, chemotherapy, embolization, radiation, and surgery have all been used with short-term beneficial and sometimes unknown long-term side effects. A new modality of treatment, alpha-interferon, has recently been described. The majority of hemangiomas in children involute by 8 years of age. Occasionally, hemangiomas can endanger vital structures and are associated with a consumption coagulopathy and thrombocytopenia (Kasabach-Merritt Syndrome). These hemangiomas occasionally do not respond to steroids, radiation therapy, cytotoxic drugs, or embolization. The mortality rates approach 50% in nonresponders. Alpha-interferon has been used in these children with life-threatening complications of hemangiomas with relief of symptoms. This case illustrates the potential use of alpha-interferon in the management of giant hemangiomas in children. This emerging form of biological therapy avoids the risks of radiation therapy, embolization, and surgery with only minimal side effects.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation / pathology
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation / therapy*
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous / pathology
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Retroperitoneal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Retroperitoneal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Syndrome
  • Thrombocytopenia / pathology
  • Thrombocytopenia / therapy*


  • Interferon-alpha