, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 495-510

Rapidly Involuting Congenital Hemangioma: Clinical and Histopathologic Features

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Abstract

We define the histopathologic findings and review the clinical and radiologic characteristics of rapidly involuting congenital hemangioma (RICH). The features of RICH are compared to the equally uncommon noninvoluting congenital hemangioma (NICH) and common infantile hemangioma. RICH and NICH had many similarities, such as appearance, location, size, and sex distribution. The obvious differences in behavior served to differentiate RICH, NICH, and common infantile hemangioma. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the three tumors is quite similar, but some RICH also had areas of inhomogeneity and larger flow voids on MRI and arterial aneurysms on angiography. The histologic appearance of RICH differed from NICH and common infantile hemangioma, but some overlap was noted among the three lesions. RICH was composed of small-to-large lobules of capillaries with moderately plump endothelial cells and pericytes; the lobules were surrounded by abundant fibrous tissue. One-half of the specimens had a central involuting zone(s) characterized by lobular loss, fibrous tissue, and draining channels that were often large and abnormal. Ancillary features commonly found were hemosiderin, thrombosis, cyst formation, focal calcification, and extramedullary hematopoiesis. With one exception, endothelial cells in RICH (as in NICH) did not express glucose transporter-1 protein, as does common infantile hemangioma. One RICH exhibited 50% postnatal involution during the 1st year, stopped regressing, was resected at 18 months, and was histologically indistinguishable from NICH. In addition, several RICH, resected in early infancy, also had some histologic features suggestive of NICH. Furthermore, NICH removed early (2–4 years), showed some histologic findings of RICH or were indistinguishable from RICH. We conclude that RICH, NICH, and common infantile hemangioma have overlapping clinical and pathologic features. These observations support the hypothesis that these vascular tumors may be variations of a single entity ab initio. It is unknown whether the progenitor cell for these uncommon congenital vascular tumors is the same as for common infantile hemangioma.

This study was presented in part at the Spanish Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Meeting, Tenerife, Spain, May 3, 2000 and the Vascular Anomalies 2001 Symposium, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY, May 18, 2001.