Smooth muscle tumors of the uterus: a practical approach

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2008 Apr;132(4):595-605. doi: 10.5858/2008-132-595-SMTOTU.


Smooth muscle tumors (SMTs) are the most frequent mesenchymal tumors of the uterus. The majority of the uterine SMTs are readily classificable as benign or malignant based on their gross and microscopic appearances. However, when unusual features are seen in some leiomyoma variants, the differential diagnosis with a leiomyosarcoma may become challenging. Moreover, diagnostic criteria for the different subtypes of leiomyosarcoma are not uniform. Finally, non-smooth muscle tumors that originate in the uterus may show overlapping histologic and even immunohistochemical features with uterine SMTs, more commonly with the spindle and epithelioid variants, complicating their correct classification. The diagnosis of malignant uterine SMTs has important prognostic and therapeutic implications. This review provides a practical approach to the diagnosis of uterine leiomyosarcoma based on a systematic assessment of histologic parameters as well as a systematic approach to its differential diagnosis based on histologic and immunohistochemical features.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leiomyosarcoma / diagnosis
  • Leiomyosarcoma / pathology
  • Mitotic Index
  • Necrosis
  • Pathology / education*
  • Smooth Muscle Tumor / diagnosis*
  • Smooth Muscle Tumor / pathology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology