VOLUME 33 - NUMBER 1-2 - 2012

Masson’s tumor: a soft tissue tumor simulating a tendon cyst. Case report


  • Tarallo M., Spagnoli A.M., Fino P., Lo Torto F., Scuderi N.
  • Clinical practice, 34-37
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  • Introduction. Intravascular papillary endothelial hyperplasia (Masson's hemangioma or Masson’s tumor) is a benign vascular disease with an exuberant endothelial proliferation in normal blood vessels. Although relatively uncommon, its correct diagnosis is important because it can clinically be like both benign lesions and malignant neoplasms. We present a case of intravascular proliferative endothelial hyperplasia simulating a tendon cyst both clinically and on ultrasound.

    Case report. A 74-year old Caucasian female presented with a 4-month history of soreness and swelling in the fourth finger of the right hand. Ultrasound showed an oval mass with fluid content, referred to a tendon cyst. A wide surgical excision was subsequently performed. The final histological diagnosis was Masson’s tumor.

    Discussion. The pathogenesis of intravascular papillary endothelial hyperplasia is still unclear but the exuberant endothelial cell proliferation might be stimulated by an autocrine loop of endothelial basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) secretion. There are three types of papillary endothelial hyperplasia: primary, or intravascular; secondary, or mixed; and extravascular. The main differential diagnosis is against pyogenic granuloma, Kaposi sarcoma, hemangioma, and angiosarcoma.

    Conclusions. Masson's tumor can be like both benign lesions and malignant neoplasms clinically and on ultrasound. For this reason, the right diagnosis can be made only by histology, which reveals a papillary growth composed of hyperplastic endothelial cells supported by delicate fibrous stalks entirely confined within the vascular lumen.

  • KEY WORDS: Masson’s tumor - Masson’s hemangioma - Intravascular papillary endothelial hyperplasia - Tendon cyst.