Cutaneous angiosarcoma: a case series with prognostic correlation

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004 Jun;50(6):867-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2003.10.671.


Background: Cutaneous angiosarcoma (CA) is a rare and aggressive endothelial-derived sarcoma. Few large studies have examined the clinicopathologic and prognostic attributes of CA.

Objectives: We sought to discern the potential prognostic significance of a variety of demographic features (i.e., age, sex, location), histologic attributes (i.e., depth of invasion, tumor necrosis, tumor cell morphology, margin status, mitoses), and follow-up data (i.e., tumor recurrence, metastases) in CA.

Methods: The statistical influence of age, sex, anatomic location, tumor depth of invasion, tumor cell morphology, presence or absence of necrosis, number of mitoses, and margin status on time to tumor recurrence and metastases were examined in a series of 47 patients with CA. Angiosarcoma arising within the breast, in a previously irradiated anatomic site, and a pre-existing vascular malformation or one associated with a lymphedematous extremity were excluded from study.

Results: Most of the patients were men (76%), with an average age of 75.1 years (range: 59-92 years). The most common location was the head and neck region (96%). The most common presentation was of a rapidly expanding erythematous patch, and the most common clinical impression was angiosarcoma. The average external diameter of the tumor was 5.3 cm (range: 1.1-8.9 cm). The most common histologic pattern was characterized by anastomosing dissecting sinusoids lined by atypical endothelial cells (64%) with 15% of cases showing a diffuse epithelioid or spindle cell proliferation and 21% showing a mixture of the 2 histologic patterns. The average depth of tumor invasion was 2.86 mm (range: 1.8->6.0 mm). Of the tumors, 78% had a mitotic rate that exceeded 3/mm(2). Follow-up was available in 37 of the patients and ranged from 6 to 65 months. The 5-year local recurrence rate was 84% and the overall 5-year survival was 34%. Most patients died as a result of their disease with widespread pulmonary, cardiac, and/or brain metastases.

Conclusions: Of the gross and histologic features, external diameter (>5 cm), depth of invasion (>3 mm), mitotic rate (>3 HPF), positive surgical margins, tumor recurrence, and metastases correlated with adverse outcome by univariate analysis and, with the exception of mitotic rate, by multivariate analysis. Of the foregoing, tumor diameter, depth of invasion, positive margins, metastases, and tumor recurrence were the most robust predictors of outcome. None of the demographic factors was associated with outcome. This study confirms the poor prognosis of patients with CA. Among all demographic and histologic patterns examined for prognostic significance, tumor diameter, tumor depth of invasion, margin status, tumor recurrence, and metastases emerged as the most important determinants of outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Hemangiosarcoma / mortality
  • Hemangiosarcoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitosis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*