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September 2005

Current Knowledge of the Pathogenesis of Infantile Hemangiomas

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass (Dr Phung); The Facial Surgery Center, Charleston, SC (Dr Hochman); and Division of Dermatopathology, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (Dr Mihm).

Correspondence: Thuy L. Phung, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave, RN 287, Boston, MA 02215 (tphung@bidmc.harvard.edu).

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2005;7(5):319-321. doi:10.1001/archfaci.7.5.319

Infantile hemangiomas are the most common benign tumor of infancy, occurring shortly after birth in 5% to 10% of white infants.1-2 Hemangiomas occur in infants of all races but are most common in those who are white. These lesions are preponderant in females compared with males at rates of 3:1 to 5:1.3 Many hemangiomas are discrete, well-circumscribed masses present in the head and neck. Some hemangiomas are segmental and diffuse, often involving large areas of the extremities or the head and neck. Chorionic villus sampling at 9 to 12 weeks of gestation has been associated with a 21% increased incidence of hemangiomas in infants.4 Most hemangiomas occur sporadically without a hereditary component. However, in a few families, hemangiomas segregate as a highly penetrant, autosomal dominant trait.5 Gene linkage studies of familial infantile hemangiomas show evidence of linkage to chromosome 5q31-33.6