Common Tumors and Tumor-like Lesions of the Shoulder

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2019 Apr 1;27(7):236-245. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-17-00449.


Shoulder lesions range from tumor-like lesions such as simple bone cysts to aggressive high-grade sarcomas. The clinical presentation is often nonspecific with shoulder pain as the primary complaint, which may lead to a delayed or missed diagnosis. Delayed diagnosis or a poorly planned biopsy of a malignant shoulder lesion can have a detrimental effect on the patient's prognosis and treatment options. Because the initial patient assessment is crucial for successful treatment, knowledge of the key features of common shoulder tumors and tumor-like conditions can help determine the diagnosis and treatment plan. This article reviews the key features and treatment options of the more commonly encountered benign and malignant shoulder bone and soft-tissue tumors and tumor-like conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Bone Cysts, Aneurysmal
  • Bone Neoplasms / classification
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Chondroblastoma
  • Chondroma
  • Eosinophilic Granuloma
  • Giant Cell Tumors
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Connective Tissue / classification
  • Neoplasms, Connective Tissue / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Connective Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms, Connective Tissue / pathology
  • Osteochondroma
  • Osteoma, Osteoid
  • Shoulder*


  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase