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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2011 Sep;1(1):a006460. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a006460.

Infantile hemangioma-mechanism(s) of drug action on a vascular tumor.

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Department of Dermatology and Sheba Cancer Research Center, Sheba Medical Center, Ramat-Gan 52621, Israel.


Infantile hemangioma (IH), a benign vascular tumor, is the most common tumor of infancy, with an incidence of 5%-10% at the end of the first year. The tumor displays a distinctive life cycle consisting of a proliferating phase, occurring in the first months of life, followed by an involuting phase. Thus, IH represents a unique model of postnatal vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, and vessel regression. Traditionally, corticosteroids were the drug of choice when treatment of IH was indicated. In recent years, beta-blockers, most specifically propranolol, have serendipitously been shown to be an effective pharmacological treatment. This article will focus on the mechanism of action of these two drugs, the old and the new treatments, in slowing the growth and accelerating involution of IH.

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