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Incidental reduction in the size of liver hemangioma following use of VEGF inhibitor bevacizumab.

Journal of Hepatology 2008 November
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Hepatic cavernous hemangioma is the second most common liver tumor after metastases. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is recognized as an essential regulator of blood vessel growth. High VEGF expression leads to increased angiogenic activity in cavernous hemangioma endothelial cells. The use of specific antibodies directed against VEGF abolishes this vascular endothelial growth-promoting activity in vitro. Bevacizumab is a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody directed against VEGF which is used for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer in combination with 5-fluorouracil-based regimens.

METHODS: We report a patient with invasive colorectal adenocarcinoma and suspected liver metastasis on radiological examination, who showed a significant decrease in the size of his liver lesions after bevacizumab treatment. Histology of the liver lesions revealed hemangioma with a strong staining for VEGF and anti-VEGFr2 antibody in the hemangioma endothelial cells. To date, surgical resection provides the only consistently effective method for treatment of hepatic hemangioma.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first documented case of hepatic hemangioma responsive to antiangiogenic therapy, suggesting a possible use for these agents in treating symptomatic patients without surgery. VEGF-signaling blockade including bevacizumab use poses a potential new treatment modality for vascular neoplasms in the liver and other sites.

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