Benign lymphangioendothelioma (acquired progressive lymphangioma): a lesion not to be confused with well-differentiated angiosarcoma and patch stage Kaposi's sarcoma: clinicopathologic analysis of a series

Am J Surg Pathol. 2000 Aug;24(8):1047-57. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200008000-00002.


The clinicopathologic features of 12 cases of benign lymphangioendothelioma (acquired progressive lymphangioma) are reported. There were five male and seven female patients. Age at diagnosis ranged from 17 to 90 years (median age, 54 yrs). Development of a single macular/papular hemangiomatous or pigmented lesion was the main presenting symptom. Symptom duration before diagnosis ranged from 2 months to 20 years (median, 5.5 yrs). Tumor size ranged from 0.3 cm to 10 cm (median. 1.5 cm). Location included skin of the head and neck (n = 5), back (n = 1), breast (n = 1), shoulder (n = 1), forearm (n = 1), plantar aspect of the foot (n = 2), and oral mucosa (n = 1). No patient had any other concomitant vascular anomaly (for example, lymphangiomatosis) or was suspected to have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Treatment consisted of excisional biopsy in nine patients, incisional biopsy in two, and wide excision in one. Follow-up information on nine patients (range, 4-40 mos; median, 12 mos) showed two local recurrences in one patient. Microscopically, the lesions consisted of anastomosing, often widely dilated vascular structures developing in the superficial dermis. As the lesion grew within deeper dermis, the vascular spaces collapsed and dissected the dermal collagen in an angiosarcoma-like pattern. The lining endothelium was flat and monolayered, with little or no cytologic atypia and no evident mitoses. Some vascular structures contained stromal papillary projections resembling papillary endothelial hyperplasia, and intravascular red blood cells were present occasionally. Immunohistochemistry performed in eight specimens showed variable endothelial cell reactivity for CD31 (7 of 8), CD34 (7 of 7), and factor VIII-related antigen (4 of 6). A smooth muscle cell layer was observed focally around the vascular spaces in six lesions. Benign lymphangioendothelioma (acquired progressive lymphangioma) is an uncommon benign lesion that, in view of major differences in treatment and prognosis, should be distinguished from well-differentiated angiosarcoma and Kaposi's sarcoma, especially the patch stage and lymphangioma-like variants of the latter.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD34 / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hemangiosarcoma / immunology
  • Hemangiosarcoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphangioma / immunology
  • Lymphangioma / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / analysis
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / immunology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / pathology*
  • von Willebrand Factor / analysis


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • von Willebrand Factor