MINNEAPOLIS (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Gestational diabetes and prenatal progesterone use were among the maternal factors associated with increased risk of infantile hemangioma, a benign vascular neoplasm whose incidence has been steadily rising over the past several decades.

Data from a large longitudinal epidemiology study were used to explore the association of a number of maternal risk factors with infantile hemangiomas, said Jennifer Schoch, MD, who presented these findings in a poster session at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.

After adjusting for gestational age and multiple gestations, the researchers found that infants born to mothers with gestational diabetes were more likely to have an infantile hemangioma (odds ratio, 1.79; P = .029). Maternal preeclampsia was even more strongly associated with infantile hemangioma (OR, 3.43, P = .017), as was prenatal progesterone use (OR, 2.25; P less than .001). Forceps-assisted vaginal delivery also increased the likelihood of infantile hemangioma (OR, 1.45; P = .035).

Low birth weight, prematurity, and being female and of non-Hispanic white race are some of the infant risk factors known to be associated with infantile hemangioma, but maternal risk factors in the development of infantile hemangioma are less clear, according to the researchers from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Some previous work has suggested that placental abnormalities and invasive procedures carried out during pregnancy, as well as the use of progesterone and corticosteroids during pregnancy, may increase the risk of infantile hemangiomas.

Using a retrospective case-control approach, the researchers used data from the 50-year-old Rochester Epidemiology Project . A chart review identified 869 mother-infant pairs with infantile hemangiomas and 869 age- and sex-matched control maternal-infant pairs whose infants did not have the condition. More than half (65%) of the infants in aggregate were girls (n = 561). Multivariable analysis was used to adjust for gestational age and multiple gestations.

Looking at the trends over time revealed that the rates of gestational diabetes, assisted reproduction techniques, and progesterone use during pregnancy have all increased during the same 35-year period of increased infantile hemangioma incidence, Dr. Schoch said in an interview.

Some earlier work suggests that infantile hemangiomas may arise from fetal placental progenitor cells. Since gestational diabetes can be associated with degradation of the placenta in late pregnancy, Dr. Schoch said that these effects on the placenta may have some connection to the increased risk of infantile hemangiomas in infants whose mothers have gestational diabetes.

Dr. Schoch , who is now professor of dermatology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, also noted that the study, completed during her fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, was limited by the low ethnic diversity of the study population, which draws from several counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Rochester Epidemiology Project is supported by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers reported having no financial disclosures.

On Twitter @karioakes


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