Conditions + Treatments

What is CLOVES syndrome?

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Congenital Lipomatous Overgrowth, Vascular Malformations, Epidermal Nevis, Spinal/Skeletal Anomalies/Scoliosis (CLOVES) syndrome is a very rare congenital (present at birth) disorder characterized by a combination of vascular (involving the blood vessels), skin, spinal and bone or joint abnormalities.

Fewer than 200 cases of CLOVES syndrome have been identified worldwide to date. CLOVES is thought to be caused by mutations in a gene called PIK3CA. The long-term picture for a child with CLOVES depends on age and how serious the symptoms are. The sooner the disease is detected and the proper course of treatment is started, the better the general outlook.

Care for CLOVES syndrome

The Vascular Anomalies Center at Boston Children's takes an interdisciplinary approach to care with every child they see, meaning clinicians from many different specialties, all with expertise in treating CLOVES, together, as a team, will see your child. This kind of approach is critical with CLOVES, as it can affect many different parts of a child's body.

CLOVES was first described as a unique condition by a clinical and research team led by VAC co-director Ahmad Alomari, MD, in 2009. Our experience in treating numerous patients with CLOVES syndrome gives us the depth of knowledge about what symptoms to look for and how to plan treatment accordingly.

What causes CLOVES syndrome?

Research by Matthew Warman, MD, director of Boston Children’s Orthopedic Research Laboratories and pathologist Kyle Kurek, MD, has revealed that CLOVES is caused by mutations in a gene called PIK3CA. These mutations arise spontaneously in the womb, while a baby is developing. Thus far, there are no known risk factors that would make these mutations more or less likely to occur.

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