Treatment of alarming head and neck infantile hemangiomas with interferon-α2a: a clinical study in eleven consecutive patients
Ling Zhang,1,2 Jia Wei Zheng,1,2 Wei En Yuan1–3
1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Stomatology, Ninth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 3School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and adverse effects of interferon-α2a in the treatment of alarming infantile hemangiomas in the head and neck region.
Patients and methods: From January 2009–December 2010, a subcutaneous injection of interferon-α2a was applied to eleven infants with giant multifocal or segmental hemangiomas at a dose of 3 million units/m² per day. All patients did not respond to propranolol or corticosteroids. The age at initiation of interferon-α2a therapy ranged from 3 days to 8 months (median: 4 months). The duration of therapy ranged from 2–4.5 months (median: 3 months). Eight patients received medication for 3 months, one patient for 4.5 months, and two patients for 2 months.
Results: Nine patients had a reduction in tumor mass of 95%; two patients’ tumors decreased in size by 75%. The overall response rate was 100%. The main adverse effects included fever, diarrhea, and anorexia, which resolved after stopping the medication. No serious adverse effect was observed.
Conclusion: Short-term treatment with interferon-α2a can be used as a safe and effective treatment for alarming infantile hemangiomas that are resistant to propranolol or corticosteroids, and that endanger the proper functioning of the affected organ or the patient’s life.
Keywords: hemangioma, interferon-α, head and neck, adverse effect
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