Radiotherapy for large symptomatic hemangiomas

Steven E. Schild, Steven J. Buskirk, Lorraine M. Frick, Roger E. Cupps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Between 1974 and 1988, 13 patients presented with large (3 to > 20 cm) symptomatic unresectable or partially resected hemangiomas. Tumor sites were extremities (five cases), vertebral bodies (three cases), face (two cases), pituitary fossa (one case), pelvic bones (one case), and bladder (one case). Symptoms included severe pain in eight patients, inability to use an extremity in five, vision problems in three, weakness in two, and hematuria with decreased urinary stream in one. Many patients had more than one symptom. Two of the cases were associated with life-threatening consumptive coagulopathies (Kasabach-Merritt syndrome). Therapy was delivered with both orthovoltage and megavoltage photons. Doses ranged from 6.25 to 40.0 Gy in 1.6- to 2.5-Gy fractions. Follow-up ranged from 2 to 15 years (median, 13 years). Tumor shrinkage was noted in 9 (82%) of the 11 cases in which tumor size data were collected before and after therapy. Complete response of tumor mass occurred in 4 (36%) of 11, partial response occurred in 5 (45%), and no response occurred in 2 (18%). No tumor grew after radiotherapy. Some relief in symptoms occurred in all 13 patients; 10 (77%) had complete resolution of symptoms. In both patients with life-threatening cytopenias, hematologic values returned to normal after treatment. Because the majority of the patients responded to all dose levels administered, no firm dose-response relationship was evident. However, objective (measurable) complete responses occurred in two (50%) of the four patients receiving doses of 30 Gy or greater compared with only two (29%) of the seven patients who received lesser doses. No long-term morbidity occurred. Radiotherapy of large unresectable and partially resected hemangiomas yields long-term relief of symptoms and tumor shrinkage in the majority of patients treated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-735
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1991


  • Consumptive coagulopathy
  • Hemangiomas
  • Kasabach-Merritt syndrome
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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