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October 1998

Caution With Regard to the Efficacy of Interferon Alfa-2b in the Treatment of Giant Hemangiomas

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(10):1297-1298. doi:

Tamayo et al1 report the effectiveness of treatment with interferon alfa-2b for life-threatening giant hemangiomas in 7 infants. We would advise caution in interpreting their results.

First, the efficacy of interferon seems to be ascertained in cases 1 and 7 but appears unclear in the 5 other cases. In these cases, self-involution cannot be excluded since a marked reduction in volume of the hemangiomas was noted after 1 year of treatment in case 2, after 7 months of treatment in case 5, and after 4 months of treatment in case 6. In cases 3 and 4, only a moderate decrease in the size of the hemangioma after 7 months of treatment was noted. In our experience, few patients with life-threatening hemangiomas can be considered excellent responders at current dosages.2 Unfortunately, there is no available predictive factor of response. In our series of 7 patients, only 2 infants with facial hemangiomas had a dramatic improvement after 1 month of treatment, 1 case was stabilized, and 4 cases did not respond after 2 months of treatment or had adverse effects (hepatitis).

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