Hemangioma, the most common tumor of infancy, is a benign vascular neoplasm of unknown etiology. We show, for the first time to our knowledge, that endothelial cells from proliferating hemangioma are clonal, and we demonstrate that these hemangioma-derived cells differ from normal endothelial cells in their rates of proliferation and migration in vitro. Furthermore, migration of hemangioma endothelial cells is stimulated by the angiogenesis inhibitor endostatin, unlike the inhibition seen with normal endothelial cells. We conclude that hemangiomas constitute clonal expansions of endothelial cells. This is consistent with the possibility that these tumors are caused by somatic mutations in one or more genes regulating endothelial cell proliferation.
Eileen Boye, Ying Yu, Gretchen Paranya, John B. Mulliken, Bjorn R. Olsen, Joyce Bischoff