Steroid treatment shows some success in hemangiomas

June 1, 2010

Milwaukee - Results of a small prospective study demonstrate that corticosteroid treatment of infantile hemangiomas can lead to profound, but largely reversible, immune suppression in infants, MedPage Today reports.

Milwaukee - Results of a small prospective study demonstrate that corticosteroid treatment of infantile hemangiomas can lead to profound, but largely reversible, immune suppression in infants, MedPage Today reports.

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin, here, studied 16 infants with hemangiomas whose mean age was 2.9 months. Investigators found that absolute numbers of B lymphocytes and CD4+ T cells fell significantly by week eight of corticosteroid administration, and that CD8+ T cells dropped by week 16.

According to the study, half of the infants had a partial response - defined as more than 30 percent decrease in size of the hemangioma - to the corticosteroid treatment, while the other half remained stabilized. The mean treatment duration was 22 weeks.

Complications of corticosteroid treatment other than immune suppression included hyperphagia and weight gain in 12 patients, disturbances in linear growth in 10, irritability and sleep disturbances in 10, and hypertension in two. Most of these adverse events were seen with higher doses, and decreased when dosage was tapered.