Superficial leiomyosarcoma of the head and neck: case report and review of the literature

Ear Nose Throat J. 2001 Jul;80(7):449-53.


Superficial leiomyosarcomas are rare in the head and neck region. Because of the infrequent nature of soft tissue sarcomas in general, superficial leiomyosarcomas are often misdiagnosed on clinical grounds. Immunohistochemistry is essential for an accurate histologic diagnosis, and it should include a broad panel of antibody studies. With respect to differences in clinical appearance and biologic behavior, superficial leiomyosarcomas can be broadly classified as either cutaneous or subcutaneous; local control and overall survival are significantly more favorable in patients with the former. The primary treatment of a leiomyosarcoma is a wide surgical excision with an emphasis on negative margins. Treatment failures are usually attributable to a local recurrence. Systemic metastasis occurs in about one-third of patients with subcutaneous involvement. Although cutaneous leiomyosarcoma is considered a relatively more benign process with minimal metastatic potential, systemic metastasis is still possible. This was demonstrated in our case, as a recurrent cutaneous leiomyosarcoma metastasized to the lung. Proper management requires inclusion of this entity in the differential diagnosis, as well as familiarity with its clinical behavior. In this article, we review the literature on superficial leiomyosarcoma and discuss its epidemiology, presentation, clinical behavior, evaluation, tissue diagnosis, staging, and treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclosporine / adverse effects
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / immunology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Heart Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / chemically induced
  • Leiomyosarcoma* / diagnosis
  • Leiomyosarcoma* / immunology
  • Leiomyosarcoma* / secondary
  • Leiomyosarcoma* / surgery
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine